Heathrow Airport

Newbie Runner (Flickr Creative Commons)

The lecture from the departure lounge

Matt Pickles

Oxford academics give lectures all around the world – but this must be a first.

Dr Anders Sandberg, Senior Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute in the University’s Philosophy Faculty, gave a lecture over Skype from Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport recently.

He had intended to give the lecture in Madrid, but his flight was one of many to be delayed by a computer bug which struck British Airways during the last Bank Holiday.

When it became clear he was not going to make it to Spain, Dr Sandberg took it in his stride. ‘My dad worked for a Scandinavian airline and so when I was younger my time was spent waiting at airports,’ he said.

‘So I took a quite phlegmatic approach to it. It was probably the first time anybody has given a lecture at a departure gate. Maybe we should have them more often.’

Dr Sandberg’s lecture was titled ‘Reviewing the methods of slowing ageing’. No doubt his audience in Madrid were hooked by the content, but his fellow passengers were baffled.

‘People were wondering what was going on when I started talking about stem cells and ageing,’ he said. 'It must have looked quite weird.’