‘From Big Bang to Biospheres’: Astronomer Royal’s public lecture at University of Leicester

Posted by pt91 at May 17, 2012 10:45 AM |
Professor Martin Rees discusses how widespread life is in the cosmos on Wednesday 16 May
‘From Big Bang to Biospheres’: Astronomer Royal’s public lecture at University of Leicester

Sir Martin delivers his lecture on 16 May.

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 15 May 2012

Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, visits the University of Leicester 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?

President of the Haldane Society Professor Emma Raven, from the University’s Department of Chemistry, said: “The Society is delighted to welcome Lord Martin Rees back to Leicester to give the 2012 Haldane Public Lecture. The Haldane Society was established almost half a century ago as a meeting place for ‘town and gown’. Its purpose is to hear distinguished speakers such as Lord Rees address topics drawn from a wide range of subjects, but always involving the boundary between academic study and practical, everyday concerns.”

As well as being the Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees is Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and a visiting Professor at both the University of Leicester and 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.

Further details about the event are available from Vicky Orson-Wright, Secretary of the Haldane Society, Department of Chemistry,  tel 0116 252 2142, e-mail: vow@le.ac.uk

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