Blackett Lecture 2020

Our 2020 Speaker details will be available soon. 

SAVE THE DATE: 24 November 2020

This FREE event is open to members and non-members of The OR Society, but online registration is compulsory for all attendees. If you have any queries, please contact Sarah Parry on [email protected]

In the meantime, watch last years speaker Professor Philip Bond
Professor of Creativity and Innovation at the University of Manchester, a Fellow at Oxford and Visiting Professor at Bristol University give a talk on "From high performance teams to a high performance economy; lessons from winning Olympic gold for building a better world"


What is the Blackett Lecture?

The Blackett Memorial Lecture is a major event in the Society’s calendar. It provides a high profile forum for leading national and international speakers from public life, academia and/or industry to address the membership and the general public on subjects relevant to current affairs and the advancement of society, in the context of Operational Research and the related areas of Analytics, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.

It's a great opportunity to meet the OR community and network with your peers.

Who was Patrick Blackett?

Since 1975, The Operational Research Society's annual lecture has been known as the Blackett Memorial Lecture in honour of Lord Patrick Blackett.

A physicist, Nobel prizewinner and one-time president of the Royal Society, Blackett was one of the pioneers of operational research (OR) during World War 2, when he advocated the employment of scientists to advise on matters of strategy and tactics. Learn more about Patrick Blackett in our light-hearted 'Draw my life' animation:

Royal Society building

The Royal Society is the independent scientific academy of the UK and the Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science.


Previous Blackett Memorial Lectures

Blackett 2018: OR in the age of AI

Sir Alan Wilson FRS FAcSS FBA

Sir Alan discusses OR in a new age in four parts: the starting point; the impact of AI; OR in the age of AI; and the future.

View Sir Alan's 2018 Blackett Lecture

Blackett 2017: Towards a Science of the Web

Sir Nigel Shadbolt FREng FRS

Sir Nigel’s fascinating presentation expanded on the “growing recognition that the ecosystem that is the Web needs to be treated as an important and coherent area of study—this is web science.”

Watch Sir Nigel's full presentation

Blackett 2016: Machines that learn: big data or explanatory models?

Professor Andrew Blake

Professor Blake discussed the common conflict faced by modellers whether to use an empirical classifier or some form of generative model.

See Professor Blake's talk in full

Blackett 2015: In defence of big data

Kenneth Cukier

On the face of it, this seems a bit of a strange title for a talk to The OR Society but Kenneth Cukier, Data Editor of The Economist who presented this year’s Blackett Memorial Lecture, soon made it clear that it was actually a very appropriate title.

Watch Kenneth Cukier's Lecture

Blackett 2014: Opportunities and challenges for the NHS

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh

Blackett 2013: Communicating risk and deeper uncertainty

David Spiegelhalter FRS OBE

Blackett 2012: 2050 pathways

Professor David MacKay FRS

Blackett 2010: Financial, Ecological & Disease-Transmitting Networks & Dynamics

Robert M May, (Lord May of Oxford OM, AC, FRS) Zoology Department, University of Oxford