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My husband and I have a weekly “Lecture Night” so that we can learn something and have a new topic of conversation (i.e. a break from current events). We take turns to choose, and the main thing we look for is something accessible for each of us. I am a retired Classicist, and he is a professional Mathematician. We watch the lecture, then discuss afterwards. We find the benefit of having a discussion with someone you know very well is that you can probe a topic together with minimal judgement.

Please note that our other recreational activities do not share this high level of intellect: for example, one of my favourite programmes is Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Public lectures are made for the public. I say this in case someone needs to hear it. They are targeted at everyone. The subject content should be accessible to someone with no knowledge of a subject. They should be engaging. I would thus encourage you to watch them. The positives of pre-recorded, online lectures is that if a lecture does not meet these standards, you can close your browser. Therefore, there is no harm in trying. You don’t have to be of a certain academic standing, know the technical terms, or have read around the subject. If that is the case, I would deem it a bad “public” lecture.

If you’re interested in how we select lectures, see my post How to choose a lecture.

Lastly, I would encourage academics and academic institutions to do more public lectures, and to record them. They are a great way to explore a topic and showcase some of the amazing research being done.