The Mind of the Universe


Audience comments

Our course participants were inspired! The following is typical of the quotes on the evaluation forms:

"The best lecture I have ever attended. Outstanding in terms of increasing my understanding and how to present to pupils." (Teacher workshop: In the Beginning...)

On behalf of everyone at Rickmansworth School, including the students and all members of the public that attended the lecture on Friday 20th November, I thank you. Your lecture was truly inspiring for teachers and students alike. From discussion with others, the feedback was entirely positive and there were several comments on your obvious love for your subject. People were also clear in their feedback regarding your all-round knowledge of the subject and ability to convey complex ideas in an accessible way. I myself have taken much away and look forward to teaching the Main Sequence in a fantastically clear way. (Lecture: What the stars have done for us).

Your talk was a great success across the age range, from Year 9 pupils all the way up to staff. The level of sophistication engaged a wide audience, from young pupils to whom it was all pretty new, through to Year 13 pupils who study the Expanding Universe as part of their A2 course. It provided the start of lively discussion with my top Year 9 set and questions about University Astrophysics courses from a couple of Year 12s - definitely a positive result. Can I finally say how impressed we were with your ability to communicate your passion for the topic, while at the same time making such a complex subject accessible - a rare skill indeed! I hope that you will be able to visit us again in the future, perhaps covering a slightly different topic?

I am a teacher of special needs students at secondary level. My class visited the observatory in Mill Hill, where Dr Diego showed us around and delivered a lecture. My students are all on the autistic spectrum and I was impressed with Dr Diego’s delivery of material. The visual images were excellent and he provided simple but clear explanations that the students could understand. He also provided supplementary material that I could use back in the classroom to reinforce the learning. This was greatly appreciated. My students all thoroughly enjoyed the visit and hopefully some will return with their families in the evening!

I am a primary school teacher and Science coordinator at my school, I asked Dr Francisco to come in during Science week and deliver a lecture. He was very prepared with a detailed slideshow. The children loved seeing all of the pictures and learning new things about the different planets. The staff also found the lecture very interesting and Dr Francisco gave them some time to speak to him after the presentation which was greatly appreciated. We will be looking into visiting the observatory later in the term.

Acabo de ver en BBC-mundo su video sobre las fotografiás tomadas por del telescopio espacial Hobble, ! Me encanto!!

Comparto con usted el sentimiento. Es una mezcla de ternura, bondad, amor.. que fluyen fuera de mi ser al apreciar que tan microscópicos somos los seres humanos en esta inmensidad que es el universo.

Dr Diego was gracious enough to come and deliver two lectures at my secondary school on the 26th of April 2010. The first, “In the Beginning” was delivered to our interested astronomy students and a second lecture “Life in the Universe: Could Darwin work on the worlds of Galileo” was shown to staff, parents and the public in the evening.

Both lectures were brilliantly presented, extremely interesting and well received; indeed a profound illustration of this would be that a senior member of the school hit the curb on the way home because she was thinking about the lecture!

I would like to thank Dr Diego and look forward to future lectures.

I am a primary school teacher and I have asked Dr Diego to come and give several lectures to my class of Year 5 pupils while they were learning about the Solar system for their science topic. The material presented was of the highest quality and pitched exactly at the right level for the age and experience of the children. The lectures (about the formation of stars and the origin of the Universe) were very inspirational and delivered with such a degree of passion that the children were still talking about them long after they had finished working on the topic and moved on to a new one.

Speaking as an experienced but retired Lecturer [previously I contributed to the Personnel Module of the MBA at Exeter University; and had my own Personnel Consultancy over many years, I want to thank you for an interesting series of lectures. Your passion for your topic shone through and has encouraged me to engage in some more learning, late in life. Although I have a Degree and two professional qualification similar to degree level - I realised how little I know about the environment in which the Earth exists. You have an easy knack of enthralling your audience and making sense of such a complex topic.  I feared that listening to you would be akin to reading a Stephen Hawking book [one understands every word but the sense does not easily persist from one chapter to the next] fortunately my fears were unfounded as I can still explain some of the principles you shared with us.  Hopefully the meaning persist when I repeat your words! Chemistry was a closed book to me at school but for the first time I understand the relevance of the periodic table and progression from early  elements into complexity.

Thank you for very much for a wonderful and enriching lecture on “Your Universe” last 25th March. Dr. Diego is a very passionate lecturer who inspires the children to search for more.The children were very excited and went on their way to do more research on what they’ve learned once we’ve arrived back in school. Here are comments two children would like to share:

  • Allegra: I really enjoyed this trip, it was very interesting. The bit I liked the best was either the super long white telescope or the lecture. This has been my favourite trip so far and I hope we can visit the observatory again.
  • Elias: I thought the trip was very interesting and well done. Dr. Francisco Diego is a very interesting and informative person to talk to.

I attended the lecture on Alien Life in the Universe this evening at my old school. Dr.Diego covered the subject in great detail, some of which I had a knowledge of, but most of which was new and very engaging. As a relative newcomer to astronomy, the information given helped to reinforce some of the processes of the early solar system formation, and went on to record the escalation of life forms, from simple to highly developed. The slides and videos were also very interesting. I would recommend his lecture.

I took 12 students to hear a presentation by Dr Diego at the Royal Liberty School and was really impressed with his passion and knowledge. He presented well and I would be really interested in inviting him to speak again to our Y10 Astronomy GCSE Students.

Rainbows from the Stars: Colourful bridges to the secrets of the Universe -a Spectroscopy demonstration lecture – Friday 21 May

My son and I attended your talk last Friday evening at UCL and I am writing to say how much we enjoyed this. Your talk was motivational and inspiring and we book look forward to another chance to participate in one of your lectures in the near future.

Interestingly we were talking about why rainbows bend before the lecture began and Alex gave me a good explanation!

Que tal Dr, le escribo de México he conocido un poco acerca de su trayectoria y permitame decirle que pocas personas me han despertado una admiración tan grande como usted, soy Médico Veterinario pero me parece muy interesante la Astronomia, es como una ventana a la mágia de nuestra existencia, soy fiel escucha del programa radiofónico de Enrique Gánem, por lo que estoy al tanto de tantas aportaciones que hacen ustedes con su trabajo, con respecto al video de los 20 años del telescopio Hubble efectivamente el adjetivo “filosófica” es el más adecuado para esa imagen, es tal la percepción de lo que han conseguido que se antoja temeroso, da miedo pues nos confronta a nuetra posición tan pequeña y a la vez tan especial en el universo. Realmente son sobrecogedoras las imágenes. No creo que exista alguien que vea esas fotos y no se estremesca de emoción. Felicidades por poner en alto el nombre de México. Nuestro pais pasa por una crisis social y necesitamos de verdaderos héros como usted.

QM2 Lectures

Thank you so much for your inspirational lectures. They were delivered with veuve and insight both of the subject and the audience pitch. The facts, the theories and the imagination towards the still unknown enabled me to glimpse the infinite in relation to self awareness. How I would love to have held the rock.

Thank you all there at UCL for affording those three interrelated lectures I was able to attend. I am still in the process on finishing that piece I’d been writing which I mentioned to you, on the origins and the future of the Universe. I’ll send it to you and post it here once I’ve completed it, its not too long. The mind of the Universe is a subject that greatly entertained me in my teens so I’m enthralled that you have created a webpage with that as it’s theme. i reduced it then to the following. I, a thinking life form, am part of the Universe. Therefore I am the Universe aware of itself making me (or any other exo-biological intelligence) the living mind of the Universe. Pantheistically, if interested in assimilating those inclined to use religious jargon, I could equally say I am the living mind of God and that the Universe can only become aware of itself by evolving to life. Looking forward to any events you organise for National Science week. I’ve been browsing the Web and found quite a number organised for London but not any by UCL yet. 

Francisco, you gave a superb lecture at Cumberland Lodge this weekend on the history of the universe, which staff and students found totally absorbing and I had several comments that it was the best lecture many had ever been to. Many thanks for your time and energy and I look forward to hearing you speak again.

We attended your lecture on the 12th of sept.2011:Playing God-ASSEMBLE THE UNIVERSE FROM PARTICLES,GLUES,SIMPLE RULES AND ENDLESS PATIENCE.
What a beautiful lecture!The love and passion for the subject were truly inspiring.All the family enjoyed it.Your observations on space/time were very helpful in making me understand a bit more about our universe.Thanks for lecture!

Dear Dr Diego I attended your lectures (In the Beginning, What the Stars Have Done for Us & Aliens! Where are you) also live planetarium shows on Cunard Liner RMS Queen Mary 2 during Nov 2011. I found them to be most informative and pitched at the right level for a lay audience. You are a superb talker and your passionate method of delivery was exceptional, I also attended your live star gazing sessions with your telescope on the upper deck of the ship. Despite the movement of the ship the views through the telescope of Jupiter, The Great Orion Nebula & The Pleiades were wonderful despite the very challenging conditions of a moving ship. Once again my sincere thanks for a very thought provoking and educational series of lectures.

Estimado Paco, la semilla que ayudaste a sembrar en Cuba, ha seguido fructificando, también gracias a tí. Queremos volver a disfrutar de tu poesía científica y de tu presencia entre nosotros ¿Cuando vas a pensar en compartir un proyecto como este con los astrónomos aficionados y estudiantes cubanos de nuevo? Seguimos tu inspiración y tratamos de imitarte, pero no podemos

Saludos cálidos como el Big Bang, desde La Habana