Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction

Royal Institution: A short reply


I got this at the end of last week from the RI. Interpreting it is likely meaningless Kremlinology, but it might indicate things are still moving.

Dear $ME,

Just wanted to drop you a quick line to say that we are assessing our position in response to concerns about the trade mark thoroughly, something which I’m sure you’ll understand takes time to do properly. We’ll get back to you in due course.



There have also been a few further steps in informal discussions about the law regarding this trademark.


Author: davecl

Astronomy, science, science fiction

6 thoughts on “Royal Institution: A short reply

  1. Dave,

    Thanks for sharing.

    I got the identical message. In terms of Kremlinology (odd to think that is an anachronism now), it gives me some information, i.e. they are presumably planning to respond to the overall concerns rather than the specific ones I raised. I am at least pleased that they are realising it is better to let people know they are thinking than the earlier run silent, run deep approach.

    Also in terms of Kremlinology, my pleasure at seeing this holding statement was lessened by seeing it had come the day after the Times Higher article.

    Seems that their response should be in one of two forms. Either a clear statement that in the Ri’s view, no bona-fide science communicator needs their permission to give a Christmas Lecture under that name. Or a clear explanation for the lay person why the trademark is not after all nonsensical, and clear statement that people infringing the trademark will be pursued legally (because if a clear statement is not given communicators have the grey area to worry about: they can go ahead but don’t know if they will be chased or not.)

    Obviously I very very much hope the answer is the first one. If it is, I think people can go back to planning their Christmas Lectures.

    I assume the likelihood will be that some way will be found to muddy the waters further. I guess we wait and see until they all come trooping up the steps in Red Square to watch the march past.

  2. Seems like a form message they sent to anyone who had piped up — I got the same email, but got no further response to a follow-up message. It doesn’t really inspire confidence, and gives the distinct impression that they are hoping we will all just go away if they keep their heads down.

    • Indeed.

      I haven’t bothered to reply to this terse message myself.

      I have to say this makes me think that there should be some further pressure on them to make it clear that we are not going away.

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