‘From Big Bang to Biospheres’: Astronomer Royal’s public lecture on Wednesday 16 May

Posted by mjs76 at May 11, 2012 05:11 PM |
Professor Martin Rees asks: How widespread is life in the cosmos?

Astronomer Royal Martin Rees (formally, Baron Rees of Ludlow) visits the University on Wednesday to deliver the annual Haldane Society Public Lecture. In his talk ‘From Big Bang to Biospheres’, the former President of the Royal Society will discuss the question of extraterrestrial life.

Should we be surprised that the physical laws have permitted the emergence of complexity of which we are part? Is physical reality even more extensive than the domain our telescopes can probe? Advances in technology mean astronomers have made astonishing progress in probing and understanding our cosmic environment, but they also raise new questions.

We can trace cosmic history from some mysterious 'beginning' nearly 14 billion years ago. We understand in outline how atoms, galaxies, stars and planets emerged. And we know how, on at least one planet, life emerged and developed a complex biosphere of which we are part. But what does the long-range future hold?

As well as being the Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees is Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and a visiting Professor at Imperial College London. He was appointed to the House of Lords in 2005. He is the author of more than 500 scientific papers and numerous books including the acclaimed Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe. And Asteroid 4587 is named after him.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1, at 6.00pm on Wednesday 16 May 2012 and will be followed by a wine reception in the Charles Wilson Building.

The Haldane Society, hosted by the University of Leicester was established almost half a century ago as a meeting place for ‘town and gown’. Its purpose is to hear distinguished speakers address topics drawn from a wide range of subjects, but always involving the boundary between academic study and practical, everyday concerns.

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