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PUBLIC LECTURES

The RAS hosts popular 45-minute lunch- or evening-time lectures for non-specialists, at which members of the public can listen to leading scientists talk about their work. Please note that attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no charge, and doors open 30 minutes before the start of each lecture.

Venue: Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BQ, UK

London Underground: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus

Contact the Events Manager or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.




RAS Public Lecture: Rosetta – why go to all that trouble?
Date: 13 Oct 2015
Time: 13:00

Rosetta – why go to all that trouble?

Professor Ian Wright, Open University

(Geological Society Lecture Theatre)

 

Writing in advance for a talk about Rosetta is necessarily fraught with uncertainty. For those of us involved with the mission (to rendezvous with, and land on, a comet) we have had to learn to expect the unexpected. So, at the time of writing the orbiter spacecraft has been pulled back to a safe distance from the comet, following a scare with navigation/control during a close fly-by. Since the comet is heading towards the Sun with surface activity increasing all the time, perhaps this means that such excursions will no longer be practical. At the same time, we know that Philae is on the surface, but not where it was intended to be. In fact, it is on its side within a crevice; we don't actually know where it is. Ironically, its orientation means that its chances of survival are greater than they should have been. But, a successful re-start of scientific investigations rests on a balance of spacecraft temperatures and degree of illumination. By the time of the talk the orbiter will hopefully have watched the comet go through and past its closest approach to the Sun ("perihelion"). And, with luck, Philae will have woken up and continued its campaign of analysing the surface. But for now, fingers remain crossed.

 

Ian Wright is a Professor of Planetary Sciences at the Open University (based in Milton Keynes). His interests include the nature and distribution of the so-called "light elements" (hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, etc.) within the Solar System. He likes to study materials that can be touched (rather than merely viewed). That means studying solid samples from various places within the Solar System. This is either done in a laboratory on Earth, or by taking a miniaturised version of the laboratory out into space.

 

(No booking is required for this daytime lecture, however, please note that the lecture is repeated in the evening in the Royal Astronomical Society Lecture Theatre at 6 pm and booking is required.)




RAS Public Lecture: Rosetta – why go to all that trouble?
Date: 13 Oct 2015
Time: 18:00

 

Rosetta – why go to all that trouble?

Professor Ian Wright, Open University

(RAS Lecture Theatre)

 

Writing in advance for a talk about Rosetta is necessarily fraught with uncertainty. For those of us involved with the mission (to rendezvous with, and land on, a comet) we have had to learn to expect the unexpected. So, at the time of writing the orbiter spacecraft has been pulled back to a safe distance from the comet, following a scare with navigation/control during a close fly-by. Since the comet is heading towards the Sun with surface activity increasing all the time, perhaps this means that such excursions will no longer be practical. At the same time, we know that Philae is on the surface, but not where it was intended to be. In fact, it is on its side within a crevice; we don't actually know where it is. Ironically, its orientation means that its chances of survival are greater than they should have been. But, a successful re-start of scientific investigations rests on a balance of spacecraft temperatures and degree of illumination. By the time of the talk the orbiter will hopefully have watched the comet go through and past its closest approach to the Sun ("perihelion"). And, with luck, Philae will have woken up and continued its campaign of analysing the surface. But for now, fingers remain crossed.

 

Ian Wright is a Professor of Planetary Sciences at the Open University (based in Milton Keynes). His interests include the nature and distribution of the so-called "light elements" (hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, etc.) within the Solar System. He likes to study materials that can be touched (rather than merely viewed). That means studying solid samples from various places within the Solar System. This is either done in a laboratory on Earth, or by taking a miniaturised version of the laboratory out into space.

 

Booking is required for the evening lecture.  We will be taking bookings from 31st August, please email events@ras.org.uk to reserve a place after that date.

 

 


Website: www.ras.org.uk




RAS Public Lecture: The Search for Life in the Universe
Date: 8 Dec 2015
Time: 13:00

The Search for Life in the Universe

Dr Louisa Preston (Open University)

(Venue: Geological Society Lecture Theatre) 

The search for life in the Universe is one of humanity's last great adventures and
we are closer than ever to sending humans to Mars, and other planets and moons
in the cosmos, to seek this life out. What are the chances of finding life on
Mars, Europa, or Titan and what might it look like? Astrobiologists are trying
to figure out where other forms of life might be hiding, how we can find it,
and what it might be able to tell us about ourselves and where we came from.
This talk will steer you through the search for life in the Universe and
explain how we use 'extreme' forms of life on Earth to guide us. We will then
discuss the chances of finding intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe, the
search for habitable planets in other distant solar systems, and the future for
our exploration, and ultimately colonisation, of the cosmos.

 

Louisa is an Astrobiologist, Planetary Geologist and TED Fellow who spends her
time thinking up ways to find life on Mars, and how humanity might one day
colonise other planets and moons. She works in environments across the Earth
where life is able to survive our planet's most extreme conditions as
analogues for possible extra-terrestri?al life forms and habitats. Louisa is
also a popular science writer and communicator, currently working on her
first book "Goldilocks and the Water Bears: The Search for life in the
Universe" for Bloomsbury Sigma. You can follow her on Twitter
@LouisaJPreston and through her blog at www.louisajpres?ton.com.




RAS Public Lecture: The Search for Life in the Universe
Date: 8 Dec 2015
Time: 18:00

The Search for life in the Universe

Dr Louisa Preston (Open University)

(Venue: Royal Astronomical Society Lecture Theatre)

 

The search for life in the Universe is one of humanity's last great adventures and
we are closer than ever to sending humans to Mars, and other planets and moons
in the cosmos, to seek this life out. What are the chances of finding life on
Mars, Europa, or Titan and what might it look like? Astrobiologists are trying
to figure out where other forms of life might be hiding, how we can find it,
and what it might be able to tell us about ourselves and where we came from.
This talk will steer you through the search for life in the Universe and
explain how we use 'extreme' forms of life on Earth to guide us. We will then
discuss the chances of finding intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe, the
search for habitable planets in other distant solar systems, and the future for
our exploration, and ultimately colonisation, of the cosmos.

 

Louisa is an Astrobiologist, Planetary Geologist and TED Fellow who spends her

time thinking up ways to find life on Mars, and how humanity might one day

colonise other planets and moons. She works in environments across the Earth

where life is able to survive our planet's most extreme conditions as

analogues for possible extra-terrestrial life forms and habitats. Louisa is

also a popular science writer and communicator, currently working on her

first book "Goldilocks and the Water Bears: The Search for life in the

Universe" for Bloomsbury Sigma. You can follow her on Twitter

@LouisaJPreston and through her blog at www.louisajpreston.com.

 

Booking is required for the evening lecture. We will be taking bookings from

31st October, please email events@ras.org.uk to reserve a place after that date.


Website: www.ras.org.uk