Science and nature courses in London

Look to the stars or stay closer to home with a wide range of topical and specialist short courses on subjects including astronomy, evolution, ecosystems and genetics that are ideal for anyone curious about our planet and what lies beyond it.

Read City Lit tutor Brenna Boyle's guide to London's diverse wildlife.

Many of our courses are delivered online. For more information about our live online courses, please see our guide to online learning.

Browse our science and nature courses below and enrol today!

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  1. The Physics of time

    New Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 15 Aug 2020 (and 1 other date)
    Location on this date: Online
    We will explore the various different conceptions of time within modern physics. The absolute time of Newtonian mechanics is contrasted with the relativistic time of Einsteinian gravity. The possibility that time is quantized, made up of discrete moments, is seen to emerge in some of the most cutting edge theories of physics, such as loop quantum gravity and string theory. The emergence of time in the big bang, the direction of time, and the possibility of time travel are all explored.

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £49.00
    Senior fee: £39.00
    Concession: £25.00

  2. Wikimedia Commons - © Francis C. Franklin - Eurasian blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus, Lancashire, UK.

    Bird identification by sound and sight

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 22 Aug 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Sometimes we hear birds before we see them. Find out more about identifying birds by sound and refresh your knowledge of the natural history of birds and what to look for to distinguish different species by sight and behaviour.



    Verity Miles, MSc, is a Zoologist and environmental campaigner, with a background in ecology, conservation and ornithology. Since studying and teaching in the Biological Sciences department of the University of Bristol, she has been working for an environmental campaigning organisation in London and managing nature reserves with the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust in her spare time. She is passionate about conservation and has a particular interest in birds. As a bird ringer, Verity has experienced identifying and handling many different species and is an advocate for urban birding and engaging with wildlife in the City.

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £15.00

  3. Artificial intelligence

    New Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 29 Aug 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    This overview course will look at the history, science and philosophical questions behind the rapid and astonishing

    developments in the field of artificial intelligence. From chatbots to medical diagnosis machines, what challenges and

    promises does this technology offer to society?

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £49.00
    Senior fee: £39.00
    Concession: £25.00

  4. Astronomy: a gentle introduction

    Astronomy: a gentle introduction

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 20 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    A leisurely walk through back garden astronomy. Learn how to find your way around the constellations, whether to buy a telescope, how to find planets and look safely at the sun. Find out why astronomy is good for you.

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £59.00
    Senior fee: £47.00
    Concession: £30.00

  5. Introduction to machine learning

    Evening
    Course Date: Mon 21 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    One of the great advances in technology is that machines can learn without humans teaching them explicit rules – e.g. letting machines train on samples of speech allows Siri to recognise your commands. Machine learning is a large part of artificial intelligence, and a mystery to most of us. This practical course teaches you how to program learning algorithms in Python. We will cover fundamentals of classification, natural language processing, financial predictions and much more. You will learn elements of data mining, how to choose a learning algorithm, and how to tweak parameters of the algorithm. We will briefly cover the theory behind the algorithms, so some maths knowledge is useful, but not required. To enrol, you must have experience with Python or a similar programming language, e.g. have taken City Lit’s Introduction to Python or Introduction to R programming course.

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £279.00
    Senior fee: £279.00
    Concession: £170.00

  6. Stay safe online

    Evening
    Course Date: Tue 22 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    What does identify theft entail? What risks do you run? Learn how to protect yourself from identify theft on this course.

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £49.00
    Senior fee: £39.00
    Concession: £30.00

  7. Cosmology

    Cosmology

    Evening
    Course Date: Thu 1 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Do you want to know about the origin and future of the universe? Will the universe expand forever? Discuss the latest evidence. Examine the current theories. Repeat the most important cosmological observation ever made!

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £149.00
    Senior fee: £149.00
    Concession: £66.00

  8. Photo by Brent Keane from Pexels

    Science guest lecture: Professor Hilary Downes on Volcanoes: How, when, where?

    Evening
    Course Date: Fri 2 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Hilary Downes, Professor of Geochemistry, Birkbeck, University of London, helps us to understand why volcanic actvity occurs in different parts of the Earth.



    Prof Downes’s work in geological sciences has included research into volcanic deposits in Canada and France as well as studies of fragments of the Earth's mantle ("xenoliths") which are brought to the surface in volcanic eruptions. Now Professor of Geochemistry in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Birkbeck, she also works in the study of meteorites in collaboration with colleagues at the Natural History Museum and NASA.

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £15.00
    Senior fee: £15.00
    Concession: £15.00

  9. Genes, genomes and genetic manipulation

    Genes, genomes and genetic manipulation

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 4 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Want to learn more about the biggest revolution in biomedical sciences? Genetics and DNA manipulation increasingly influence our lives. Learn about the basics of DNA technology, its uses and how it affects us.

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £59.00
    Senior fee: £47.00
    Concession: £30.00

  10. Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels

    What secrets do your bones hold? - Introduction to forensic anthropology

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 10 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    In recent years, forensic anthropology has made it into popular culture with crime scene analyseis, bone analysis, DNA analyses, finger print analysis etc. Looking beyond these popular representations, this course introduces you to the some of the aspects of forensic anthropology with regard to skeletons. Join us, and learn more about the secrets bones hold.

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £59.00
    Senior fee: £47.00
    Concession: £30.00

  11. Introduction to Cloud computing

    Evening
    Course Date: Tue 13 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Cloud computing uses the internet to provide shared computing resources on demand. Learn about the major operators in this business and how to avoid expensive hardware costs by renting what you need when you need it.

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £49.00
    Senior fee: £39.00
    Concession: £30.00

  12. Stargazing at home: From your window to the Universe (October)

    Evening
    Course Date: Wed 14 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Two urban astronomers – Rad and Tom, formerly of the Royal Observatory Greenwich – will take you on a topical tour of the seasonal night sky, going beyond the veil of light pollution to explore the cosmic sights that we can all find from home. We will show you how to plan your stargazing session from maps to apps, and find the things that most people miss. We’ll also teach you how to capture the stars with the cameras you already own.

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £15.00
    Senior fee: £15.00
    Concession: £15.00

  13. Image credit: "Geology Snow Turret Arch Sandstone Winter" via Max Pixel

    Introduction to geology

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 18 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Geology, the study of solid Earth, rocks and the processes by which they change, is a vast subject covering billions of years of history and offering insights into areas such as past climates and the history of life. Discover more about the underlying principles of this important science such as plate tectonics, how rocks are made and the evolution of life. Charles Clarke (MSc in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology from University College London) has a special interest in hominin evolutionary research and is also committed to introducing geology to a wider audience.

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £59.00
    Senior fee: £47.00
    Concession: £30.00

  14. Introduction to artificial intelligence

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 18 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk say it's humanity's biggest threat, but you use it every day. Learn what artificial intelligence is, what it will become, and how it works.

    This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
    Full fee: £129.00
    Senior fee: £129.00
    Concession: £129.00

  15. PC maintenance: an introduction

    New Evening
    Course Date: Wed 21 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Learn how to troubleshoot and solve common computer hardware problems. Discover what is inside a computer, how it works and how to upgrade computer components.

    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £199.00
    Concession: £199.00

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