Cosmic Fire on Earth
The energy of stars and atoms
We live in a Universe that seems to develop increasing complexity from a distant origin, out of pure and simple energy filling an ever expanding space. In this lecture we go back in time to explore those initial conditions, when the primordial energy was confined in a handful of fundamental particles, the building blocks to be brought together at different stages by the four known basic forces of the Universe.
We will travel deep inside stars to witness these forces at work, patiently assembling the nuclei of atoms along millions of years; a process highly intensified during the cataclysmic death of massive stars, where the nuclei of the heaviest atoms are put together and then fly away carrying within the energy of the dying stars. Those atoms became part of our planet and today are an essential for our modern society. Their ticking energy tells us the age of our planet. Their burning energy destroys malignant tissues in our bodies, powers our civilisation and sadly, it has achieved the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
We have in our hands the valuable power of stars that lived and died millions of years ago. As we enter our second century of atomic radioactivity we must find wise ways of using that power to allow our survival and expansion.
The lecture promotes debate about the discoveries of science and its applications for good and for bad. This could also take the shape of a café scientifique discussion.
Duration and Age group
The lecture takes about 50 minutes and it is aimed
at audiences older than 12 years.
A workshop for teachers is being prepared with special sessions, teacher packs and on-line resources that will soon appear on this website.