Leader of ‘most powerful observatory on the planet’ to speak at University of Leicester

Posted by ew205 at Oct 10, 2017 10:50 AM |
Professor Xavier Barcons to share insights into Astronomy’s ‘wonderful observatories’ on 30 October

A University of Leicester lecture by the head of the world’s most powerful observatory will examine how new astronomical facilities have led to significant leaps in astronomical research.

The free public lecture by Professor Xavier Barcons from the University of Cantabria entitled ‘The road to the next large astronomical observatories’ will take place on Monday 30 October.

The lecture, running from 5.30pm to 7.00pm in Physics LTA, will be the fourth instalment in the Professor George Fraser Memorial Lecture series. It will explore the significance of Astronomy as an observationally-driven science discipline.

Large astronomical observatories are long-lead items, aimed at cracking very challenging scientific objectives, including finding habitable exoplanets, understanding the formation of stars, the interplay between gas, stars and black holes in galaxies, and understanding the contents and evolution of the Universe.

The lecture will therefore consider the impact of new astronomical facilities, both on the ground and in space.

Furthermore, Professor Barcons will discuss the Athena X-ray observatory, the ALMA sub/millimetre telescope and ESO's Extremely Large Telescope.

Professor Barcons said: “Astronomy is one of the most lively sciences, its objectives changing every day. In this lecture I will describe the development of some of these wonderful observatories and their science objectives.”

The lecture series takes place in tribute to Professor George Fraser, who was a member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Director of the Space Research Centre.

His considerable work included research projects in areas ranging from X-ray Astronomy to medical imaging and archaeology.

The lecture serves to recognise the skills and dedication of individuals such as George Fraser, without whom these developments would not have been feasible.

Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester Professor Paul O’Brien said: “Xavier Barcons has played a leading role in developing major observatories in space and now leads the most powerful observatory on the planet.

“He will be able to give us a unique perspective on where astronomy is heading into the future.”

The event requires that all attendees fill in a registration form, which can be found here: http://www.star.le.ac.uk/GWFMemorial/


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