The Sidney Greats lecture series aims to provide the College community with introductions to great texts, ideas, figures and events.

Sidney Greats has quickly grown into one of the most popular events in the academic life of the College.

The series invites speakers from within and beyond the College to explore important works or ideas in an approachable format and interdisciplinary environment. These have ranged widely across the arts and sciences, from human rights law to Shakespeare, Newton, to the Qur'an. As Clive Wilmer explains, 'The series aims to give breadth to the education our College offers by familiarising students and others with texts, ideas and artefacts that are widely judged to be "great".'

With generous support from the College's Annual Fund, the debate continues after the lecture over dinner in Hall, affirming the idea of the College as intellectual community.

You can listen to many of the lectures by following the links from the term titles to the University Video & Audio website.

Previous Sidney Greats

The Sidney Greats have been running since 2012. Many of them have been recorded and you can listen to those that have by following the links from the term titles to the University Video & Audio website.

Lent 2019
  • Dr Corinna Russell (Emma) - Byron's Don Juan
  • Dr Clive Wilmer (Sidney Sussex) - John Ruskin
  • Prof Charles Martindale (York) - Classical Literature
  • Prof. Simon Schaffer (Darwin) - The Laboratory
Michaelmas 2018
  • Prof. Rodolphe Sepulchre (Sidney Sussex) - Cybernetics
  • Dr Janice Stargardt (Sidney Sussex) - Buddhism
  • Dr Ruth Jackson (Sidney Sussex) - Augustine's Confessions
Lent 2018
  • Prof. Simon Franklin (Clare) - Pushkin's Eugene Onegin
  • Colin Roberts (Sidney Sussex) - The Horse in Human History
  • Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe (Peterhouse) - Satan
  • Ceri Owen (Sidney Sussex) - Barbara Hepworth
Michaelmas 2017
  • Rhys Jones (Sidney Sussex) - Beethoven's Fifth Symphony
  • Rupert Stasch (Sidney Sussex) - Claude Lévi-Strauss
  • Prof. David Tong (Trinity) - Gravity
  • Prof. Iain Fenlon (King's) - Monteverdi
Lent 2017
  • Dame Fiona Reynolds (Emmanuel) - Octavia Hill
  • Ceri Owen (Sidney Sussex) - Barbara Hepworth
  • Prof. Rebecca Kilner (Sidney Sussex) - Behaviour and Evolution Anna Whitelock - Elizabeth I
Michaelmas 2016
  • Prof. Dame Ann Dowling (Sidney Sussex) - Silent aircraft
  • Dr Clare Chambers (Philosophy) - Feminist Political Philosophy
  • Prof. Janet Todd (Newham) - Jane Austen's "Emma"
Lent 2016
  • Prof. Dame Sandra Dawson (Sidney Sussex) - Leadership
  • Prof. Gary Gerstle (Sidney Sussex) - Frankin Delano Roosevelt
  • Richard Humphreys - J.M.W. Turner
​​Michaelmas 2015
  • Dr Paulina Sliwa (Sidney Sussex) - Aristotle's "Nichomachean Ethics"
  • Dr Douglas Hedley (Divinity) - Plato's "Timaeus" Lachlann Mackinnon - WH Auden
Lent 2014
  • Prof. Raymond Geuss (Philosophy) - Rabelais
  • Dr Helen Castor (Sidney Sussex) - Joan of Arc
  • Dr Kirsten Dickers (Sidney Sussex) - Marie Curie
Michaelmas 2014
  • Prof. Christopher Page (Sidney Sussex) - Beowulf
  • Prof. John Forrester (HPS) - Freud's Interpretation of Dreams
  • Dr David Skinner (Sidney Sussex) - John Taverner
Lent 2014
  • Dr David Beckingham (Sidney Sussex) - Charles Dickens' Bleak House
  • Dr Rowan Williams (Magdalene College) - Dostoevsky
  • Prof. Andrew Balmford (Zoology) - Environmentalism
  • Dr Mette Eilstrup Sangiovanni (Sidney Sussex) - The Post-American World
Michaelmas 2013
  • Prof. Rosamond McKitterick (Sidney Sussex) - Charlemagne
  • Prof. Richard Staley (Gonville and Caius College) - Einstein
  • Dr Emma Gilby (Sidney Sussex) - Descartes
  • Prof. Sir Geoffrey Lloyd (Needham Research Institute) - Chinese Science
Lent 2013
  • Dr Jillaine Seymour (Sidney Sussex) - Human Rights
  • Dr Joe Moshenska (Trinity College) - Lucretius' poem "De Rerum Natura"
  • Dr Martin Ruehl (Trinity Hall) - Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil
Michaelmas 2012
  • Prof. Robin Kirkpatrick (Robinson College) - Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Dr Philip Wood (Sidney Sussex) - The Qur'an
  • Mr Max Beber (Sidney Sussex) - Keynesian Economics
  • Prof. Paul Binski (Gonville and Caius College) - Giotto
Lent 2012
  • Professor Adrian Poole (Trinity College) - Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey
  • Dr Edward Wilson-Lee (Sidney Sussex) - The Bible
  • Dr Clive Wilmer (Sidney Sussex) - Dante's Divine Comedy
  • Dr Patricia Fara (Clare College) - Newton's Principia Mathematica
  • Dr Tim Lewens (Clare College) - Darwin's On the Origin of Species

For more information about Sidney Greats please contact Dr Edward Wilson-Lee.