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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: Weighing Black Holes
Date: 9 Feb 2016
Time: 13:00

Weighing Black Holes
Professor Martin Bureau (University of Oxford)

(Venue: RAS Lecture Theatre - booking opens from 31st December, please email events@ras.org.uk)

 

Black holes are now known to lurk at the centre of every galaxy, and to play a major role in the evolution of our universe. However, given their intrinsically small size, how this comes about remains shrouded in mystery. Professor Bureau will thus start with a brief look into the properties of light and the high-tech gadgetry that astronomers use to study the cosmos. He will further uncover the supermassive black holes hiding in galaxy centres, along with their importance for galaxy evolution. The current bag of tricks used to weigh black holes will be outlined, and the spectacular observations of the Milky Way black hole presented. Prof Bureau will then present a new, conceptually simple but powerful method to measure black holes developed in Oxford. This will exploit the new Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), the largest ground-based telescope project in existence, for which Europe, North America, and East Asia are all working together. The possibilities are, quite literally, astronomical. Be prepared to weigh your first black hole!

 

Martin Bureau is a self-described galaxy guru, with an interest in anything and everything galactic. He is particularly interested in using observations and theoretical studies of the gas, stars, and dark matter that make up galaxies to constrain their formation and evolution.

 

Martin is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford, and Lindemann Fellow and Tutor in Physics at Wadham College. He has been in Oxford for a decade, following appointments at Columbia University as a NASA Hubble Fellow and at Leiden University. He obtained his PhD from The Australian National University and is originally from Montreal, Canada.

 


Website: www.ras.org.uk




RAS Public Lecture: Weighing Black Holes
Date: 9 Feb 2016
Time: 18:00

Weighing Black Holes

Professor Martin Bureau (University of Oxford)

(Venue: Royal Astronomical Society Lecture Theatre - booking opens from 31st December, please email events@ras.org.uk)

 

Black holes are now known to lurk at the centre of every galaxy, and to play a major role in the evolution of our universe. However, given their intrinsically small size, how this comes about remains shrouded in mystery. Professor Bureau will thus start with a brief look into the properties of light and the high-tech gadgetry that astronomers use to study the cosmos. He will further uncover the supermassive black holes hiding in galaxy centres, along with their importance for galaxy evolution. The current bag of tricks used to weigh black holes will be outlined, and the spectacular observations of the Milky Way black hole presented. Prof Bureau will then present a new, conceptually simple but powerful method to measure black holes developed in Oxford. This will exploit the new Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), the largest ground-based telescope project in existence, for which Europe, North America, and East Asia are all working together. The possibilities are, quite literally, astronomical. Be prepared to weigh your first black hole!


Martin Bureau is a self-described galaxy guru, with an interest in anything and everything galactic. He is particularly interested in using observations and theoretical studies of the gas, stars, and dark matter that make up galaxies to constrain their formation and evolution.


Martin is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford, and Lindemann Fellow and Tutor in Physics at Wadham College. He has been in Oxford for a decade, following appointments at Columbia University as a NASA Hubble Fellow and at Leiden University. He obtained his PhD from The Australian National University and is originally from Montreal, Canada.




RAS Public Lecture: A Matter of Gravity
Date: 8 Mar 2016
Time: 13:00

A Matter of Gravity

Dr Roberto Trotta (Imperial College London)

(Venue: Geological Society Lecture Theatre - no booking required)

 

A century after Albert Einstein presented his revolutionary theory of General Relativity at the Prussian Academy of Science, his ground-breaking ideas about the nature of space-time have been —thus far— verified with exquisite precision.

Award-winning science communicator and astrophysicist Roberto Trotta examines the implications of General Relativity for our cosmological models, and discusses possible alternatives explanations to puzzling astrophysical observations without invoking (as it is usually done) an unknown dark matter component. The experimental searches for direct detection of gravitational waves will be presented, and the momentous discoveries they might bring.

 

Roberto Trotta is a theoretical cosmologist at Imperial College London, where he studies dark matter, dark energy and the Big Bang, and an STFC Public Engagement Fellow.

Roberto is a passionate science communicator and the recipient of numerous awards for his research, outreach and art and science collaborations, including the Lord Kelvin Award of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Michelson Prize of Case Western Reserve University.

His award-winning first book for the public, "The Edge of the Sky: All you need to know about the All-There-Is", endeavours to explain the Universe using only the most common 1,000 words in English. Roberto was named as one of the 100 Global Thinkers 2014 by Foreign Policy, for "junking astronomy jargon".




RAS Public Lecture: A Matter of Gravity
Date: 8 Mar 2016
Time: 18:00

A Matter of Gravity

Dr Roberto Trotta (Imperial Collge London)

(Venue: Royal Astronomical Society Lecture Theatre - to book email events@ras.org.uk)

 

A century after Albert Einstein presented his revolutionary theory of General Relativity at the Prussian Academy of Science, his ground-breaking ideas about the nature of space-time have been —thus far— verified with exquisite precision.

Award-winning science communicator and astrophysicist Roberto Trotta examines the implications of General Relativity for our cosmological models, and discusses possible alternatives explanations to puzzling astrophysical observations without invoking (as it is usually done) an unknown dark matter component. The experimental searches for direct detection of gravitational waves will be presented, and the momentous discoveries they might bring.

 

Roberto Trotta is a theoretical cosmologist at Imperial College London, where he studies dark matter, dark energy and the Big Bang, and an STFC Public Engagement Fellow.

Roberto is a passionate science communicator and the recipient of numerous awards for his research, outreach and art and science collaborations, including the Lord Kelvin Award of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Michelson Prize of Case Western Reserve University.

His award-winning first book for the public, "The Edge of the Sky: All you need to know about the All-There-Is", endeavours to explain the Universe using only the most common 1,000 words in English. Roberto was named as one of the 100 Global Thinkers 2014 by Foreign Policy, for "junking astronomy jargon".

 

Booking is required for the evening lecture. We will be taking bookings from 31st January 2016, please email events@ras.org.uk to reserve a place after that date.




RAS Public Lecture: The Future Exploration of the Moon
Date: 12 Apr 2016
Time: 13:00

The Future Exploration of the Moon

Professor Ian Crawford (Birkbeck)

(Venue: Geological Society Lecture Theatre - no booking required)

 

It is now over 40 years since the last Apollo astronauts left the surface of the Moon, and for most of that time the lunar surface has been left undisturbed. However, continued analysis of the Apollo samples, and more recent measurements made by lunar orbiting spacecraft, have confirmed that the lunar geological record still has much to tell us about the earliest history of the Solar System, the origin of the Earth and Moon, and the geological evolution of rocky planets. There is broad agreement that further advances in these areas will require an end to the 40-year hiatus of lunar surface exploration, and the placing of new scientific instruments on, and the return of additional samples from, the surface of the Moon. For these reasons several space agencies around the world are actively planning a return to the lunar surface, initially with robots but eventually with astronauts. In addition these government-led activities, there is also increasing interest in non-governmental projects to land spacecraft on the Moon, such as the crowd-funded Lunar Mission One and the various proposals entered into the Google Lunar X-Prize competition. This talk will give a brief summary of the history of lunar exploration to-date, and outline the scientific objectives of lunar missions planned for he future. I will argue that while some of these scientific objectives can be achieved robotically, in the longer term most would benefit significantly from renewed human operations on the lunar surface.

 

Ian Crawford is an astronomer turned planetary scientist, and is currently Professor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck College, University of London (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/es/). He is presently also Senior Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society (http://www.ras.org.uk/. The main focus of his research is in the area of lunar exploration, including the remote sensing of the lunar surface and the laboratory analysis of lunar samples. Ian also has research interests in the new science of astrobiology, the study of the astronomical and planetary context of the origin and evolution of life. He is a strong advocate for the renewed human exploration of the Moon, and the eventual human exploration of Mars and beyond. A more detailed summary of interests, and list of publications, can be found on his personal website at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfbiac/.




RAS Public Lecture: The Future Exploration of the Moon
Date: 12 Apr 2016
Time: 18:00

 

The Future Exploration of the Moon

Professor Ian Crawford (Birkbeck)

(Venue: Royal Astronomical Society Lecture Theatre - to book email events@ras.org.uk)

 

It is now over 40 years since the last Apollo astronauts left the surface of the Moon, and for most of that time the lunar surface has been left undisturbed. However, continued analysis of the Apollo samples, and more recent measurements made by lunar orbiting spacecraft, have confirmed that the lunar geological record still has much to tell us about the earliest history of the Solar System, the origin of the Earth and Moon, and the geological evolution of rocky planets. There is broad agreement that further advances in these areas will require an end to the 40-year hiatus of lunar surface exploration, and the placing of new scientific instruments on, and the return of additional samples from, the surface of the Moon. For these reasons several space agencies around the world are actively planning a return to the lunar surface, initially with robots but eventually with astronauts. In addition these government-led activities, there is also increasing interest in non-governmental projects to land spacecraft on the Moon, such as the crowd-funded Lunar Mission One and the various proposals entered into the Google Lunar X-Prize competition.

This talk will give a brief summary of the history of lunar exploration to-date, and outline the scientific objectives of lunar missions planned for he future. I will argue that while some of these scientific objectives can be achieved robotically, in the longer term most would benefit significantly from renewed human operations on the lunar surface.

 

Ian Crawford is an astronomer turned planetary scientist, and is currently Professor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck College, University of London (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/es/). He is presently also Senior Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society (http://www.ras.org.uk/. The main focus of his research is in the area of lunar exploration, including the remote sensing of the lunar surface and the laboratory analysis of lunar samples. Ian also has research interests in the new science of astrobiology, the study of the astronomical and planetary context of the origin and evolution of life. He is a strong advocate for the renewed human exploration of the Moon, and the eventual human exploration of Mars and beyond. A more detailed summary of interests, and list of publications, can be found on his personal website at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfbiac/.

 

Booking is required for the evening lecture. We will be taking bookings from 29th February, please email events@ras.org.uk to reserve a place after that date.




RAS Public Lecture: Space rocks on ice: Hunting for meteorites in Antarctica
Date: 10 May 2016
Time: 13:00

Space rocks on ice: Hunting for meteorites in Antarctica

Dr Katherine Joy (University of Manchester)

(Venue: Geological Society Lecture Theatre - no booking required)

 

Meteorites shed light on the origin of the Solar System and on the geological history of different planetary bodies. Antarctica is unique collection ground for meteorites – it very cold so preserves them well, the black meteorites are easy to spot against the white ice, and meteorites samples are often concentrated together on the ice along the Transantarctic mountain range. I will outline my experience in travelling to collect meteorites with the US Antarctic Search for Meteorites Programme, and talk about the scientific reasons we go and collect these stones from space.

 

Katherine Joy obtained her PhD in studies of lunar evolution from University College London in 2007, where she combined data from the European Space Agency's SMART-1 mission and studies of lunar meteorites. She then held a postdoctoral research position at Birkbeck College where she studied data from the X-ray instrument on the Indian Chandrayaan-1 mission. In 2010 Katherine took up a postdoctoral research post in Houston, Texas where she was based at the Lunar and Planetary Institute and NASA Johnson Space Centre as a NLSI postdoctoral research fellow. She studied samples returned by the Apollo 16 mission in order to study the Moon's impact record. In 2012 Katherine returned to the UK to work at the University of Manchester where she investigates the bombardment history of the Moon and inner Solar System. She has twice joined the US Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) programme, spending two field season's on the ice collecting meteorites.




RAS Public Lecture: Space rocks on ice: Hunting for meteorites in Antarctica
Date: 10 May 2016
Time: 18:00

Space rocks on ice: Hunting for meteorites in Antarctica

Dr Katherine Joy (University of Manchester)

(Venue: Royal Astronomical Society Lecture Theatre - to book email events@ras.org.uk )

Meteorites shed light on the origin of the Solar System and on the geological history of different planetary bodies. Antarctica is unique collection ground for meteorites – it very cold so preserves them well, the black meteorites are easy to spot against the white ice, and meteorites samples are often concentrated together on the ice along the Transantarctic mountain range. I will outline my experience in travelling to collect meteorites with the US Antarctic Search for Meteorites Programme, and talk about the scientific reasons we go and collect these stones from space.

 

Daytime Lecture speaker: Professor Sara Russell, Head of the Division of Mineral and Planetary Sciences and a researcher in meteoritics and early solar system processes. Sara is a Council Member of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a Science Team Member of the NASA Osiris Rex Mission.

 

Evening lecture speaker: Dr Katherine Joy obtained her PhD in studies of lunar evolution from University College London in 2007, where she combined data from the European Space Agency's SMART-1 mission and studies of lunar meteorites. She then held a postdoctoral research position at Birkbeck College where she studied data from the X-ray instrument on the Indian Chandrayaan-1 mission. In 2010 Katherine took up a postdoctoral research post in Houston, Texas where she was based at the Lunar and Planetary Institute and NASA Johnson Space Centre as a NLSI postdoctoral research fellow. She studied samples returned by the Apollo 16 mission in order to study the Moon's impact record. In 2012 Katherine returned to the UK to work at the University of Manchester where she investigates the bombardment history of the Moon and inner Solar System. She has twice joined the US Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) programme, spending two field season's on the ice collecting meteorites.

 

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


Website: www.ras.org.uk