Earlier this month Chris Bishop, chief research scientist at Microsoft Research Cambridge was selected for and hosted this year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. The Christmas lectures themselves originated in 1825 when Michael Faraday wanted to have a way to help promote science to children.

Luckily for all viewing there were no PowerPoint slides shown – instead Chris explained with lots of audience participation such things as the continuation of Moore’s law in the face of modern challenges faced in processor design and the current progression in the speed of modern computing.

Of course there were several things that made the audience go wow; such as in the first lecture explaining what goes into the modern microprocessor; something less than the size of a 5 pence piece having 400million components inside, yet they are produced on such a scale and such efficiency that anyone can afford it. Moving on other lectures were based around Artificial intelligence and way it is so hard to achieve.

However the best point for most came in the second episode where Microsoft research showed off and demoed some of their toys such as roundtable and Surface. Those present were in awe of what the Surface was capable of; including a simple puzzle game that was shown. Moving on Chris demonstrated the next evolution to the Surface, moving it into the 3d space by having a spherical ball displaying the surface instead of the flat table.

Surface

For all those that watched them, the Christmas lectures were informative and great fun, though fear not, the Christmas lectures are still available on demand from Channel 5