Stars in our eyes: four astronomy public lectures in one week!

Posted by mjs76 at Jan 16, 2012 02:09 PM |
University of Leicester joins in the Beeb’s national star-gazing event.

Musician-turned-physicist Professor Brian Cox and physicist-turned-comedian Dara O’Briain host Stargazing Live on BBC 2 this week, the BBC’s annual celebration of astronomy. To tie in with the TV shows there are events happening across the country, including a series of public lectures here at the University of Leicester.

The lectures, presented by researchers from our Department of Physics and Astronomy, take place next week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the Rattray Lecture Theatre, starting at 6.30pm. All three are free to attend but please note the age limitation on Wednesday’s talk.

While prebooking is not essential, it would help us enormously if you could use this booking form to help us know how many people are likely to turn up to each lecture.

Tuesday 24 January 2012: Lots in Space

The vast tracts of space between cosmic bodies are permeated by electromagnetic fields and plasmas, whose complex interactions pose problems for astronauts and satellites and affect polar communication networks and air traffic, as well as causing the ‘northern lights’. Spacecraft have revealed that other planets exhibit their own spectacular plasma processes, and they have even been observed around other stars. In this talk, Dr Jonathan Nichols, an investigator on the Hubble Space Telescope, will discuss the science of space plasmas and reveal that there is, in fact, lots in space.

  • Talk suitable for all ages.
  • Come along at 5.30pm for an astronomy lecture double bill – see below.

Wednesday 25 January 2012: Exploring Mars

In this talk, Dr John Bridges, a participating scientist on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, discusses what we know about the evolution of Mars throughout the long history of Martian investigation: from the early telescopic images which showed the presence of polar ice up to the current and planned rover missions.  When will we be able to answer the question: was there ever life on Mars?

  • Talk suitable for ages 14+.

Thursday 26 January 2012: How to Build a Milky Way

An over-arching goal of contemporary astronomical research is to answer the question: how did galaxies like our own Milky Way form? A basic picture has emerged in which dark matter, gravity, gas and black holes all play key roles. But what is dark matter? How does the gas in a primordial galaxy turn into stars? And why do black holes seem to know the size of the galaxy that will grow around them? In this talk, Dr Mark Wilkinson will present some of our latest findings which make use of the world's largest telescopes and the most powerful supercomputers to address fundamental questions about the origin of the Milky Way.

  • Talk suitable for all ages.

And there’s more…

On Tuesday 24 January, Professor Andrew Blain from our Department of Physics and Astronomy presents a free public lecture on ‘Finding extreme galaxies hiding in the infrared’ as part of our Inaugural Lectures series. He will discuss the advances being made in ground-based astronomy using infra-red wavelengths including the amazing ALMA telescope currently under construction in Chile. Professor Blain’s lecture is in the Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1, at 5.30pm.

If you want to see both Professor Blain and Dr Nichols, you can do so easily: from the Ken Edwards Building to the Rattray is just a couple of minutes’ walk across campus.

Share this page: