UCL News


UCL Exhibition: Your Universe

3 August 2009

Primitive life on another planet is likely to be found within our lifetime, according to a lecture to be given at UCL (University College London) as part of an exhibition to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy.

'Your Universe', a collection of exhibits and lectures running 20-23 August 2009 aimed at families, will feature a magic planet projection and interactive exhibits where you can build the universe from scratch or a scale model of the solar system. Telescopes will be on hand to look at the Sun and the planet Venus, weather permitting. UCL academics and students will explain how we study the stars and discover new planets today.

The lecture series by UCL researchers will kick off with 'The search for extra-terrestrial unintelligence' on Thursday 20 August at 1pm. Professor Jonathan Tennyson, head of the UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy, will explain how today's scientists search for (unintelligent) life elsewhere in the universe. Professor Tennyson predicts that primitive life on another planet will be found within our lifetime.

Other lectures in the programme include:

'Our next step: space exploration by astronauts' on Friday 21 August at 1pm. Dr Ian Crawford will explain our plans to return to the Moon, and eventually travel to Mars.

'Astrobiology: the search for life beyond Earth' on Saturday 22 August at 3pm. Dr Lewis Dartnell will explore how life emerged, the extreme conditions it can tolerate, and what an alien might look like.

'Cosmic fireworks: galaxy collisions' on Sunday 23 August at 11am. Using the latest images from the world's best observatories, Dr Mark Westmoquette will show examples of colliding galaxies.

'A Ghost Universe that nobody can see…yet' on Sunday 23 August at 5pm. Dr Francisco Diego will explain why most of the universe is like a colossal, invisible ghost.

The exhibition is free and open to all. Lectures are free of charge, but on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information on the exhibits and the full lecture programme, please visit www.ucl.ac.uk/youruniverse

Notes for Editors

1. For more information on the exhibition and lecture programme, please visit www.ucl.ac.uk/youruniverse.

2. The exhibition takes place in North Cloisters and Old Refectory, UCL Main Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT. Opening hours are 11.00 to 19.00 on weekdays, 10.00 to 20.00 on Saturday and 10.00 to 18:00 on Sunday.

3. Lectures will be held in the Wilkins Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, South Wing, UCL Main Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT. Please see programme timetable for dates and times of lectures at www.ucl.ac.uk/youruniverse.

4. Journalists seeking more information can contact Jenny Gimpel in the UCL Media Relations Office on tel: +44 (0)20 7679 9726, mobile: +44 (0)7747 565 056, out of hours +44 (0)7917 271 364, e-mail: j.gimpel@ucl.ac.uk.