Lectures

We have some great lectures lined up for Your Universe 2016. All events are free of charge but please note that if you'd like to come along to the panel discussion on Saturday 12 March, you'll need to register here.

All lectures take place in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, UCL (map)

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Public lecture: Seeing in the dark: Finding hidden objects in the Universe

Thursday 10 March, 19:00

Sarah Hutton

Dr Sarah Hutton (UCL Physics & Astronomy)

The Universe is a fantastic place, but if we only ever observed it with our eyes we would never see its most amazing phenomena. In this talk I discuss what our galaxy, the Milky Way, looks like in different wavelengths before moving on to discover the exotic entities that can only be observed in the wavelengths that are invisible to our eyes. I finish by showing the current limits of what we can see and what we hope the next generation of telescopes and satellites will reveal to us.



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Public lecture: THINK UNIVERSE! Why Bring ‘Big’ Science into Elementary Education?

Friday 11 March, 19:00

Dr Francisco Diego (UCL Physics & Astronomy) will talk about the THINK UNIVERSE! project, a one-term integrated science programme to be taught in schools to pupils aged 9-12.

Francisco Earth

THINK UNIVERSE! deals with the fundamental nature of the visible Universe, from its very simple and still mysterious origin, to the complexity and diversity around us today. We follow the cosmic time line and explore a metaphorical cosmic forest where vast numbers of trees of diversity accidentally grow and vanish. We face the relevant insignificance of the human existence, that has only started as a tiny twig on one of those trees. A single human family that migrated from central Africa only a few thousand years ago. We meet our destiny, where we must learn to be kind to one another and preserve this fragile and unique paradise planet that we call Earth.

In this lecture, we learn about the development of this project and its major challenges ahead. Audience participation will be important.


(NOTE: Think Universe! has support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council for its essential phase of teacher training).

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Public discussion and panel: LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE

Saturday 12 March, 17:00 (please note that you will need to register for this event)

Location: Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, UCL (map)

What is life? How does it start? With over 2,000 confirmed exoplanets, and the probability of billions more in our galaxy alone, is the emergence of life inevitable? And if it is inevitable, then where are the aliens? Join our expert panel and learn about one of the most fascinating challenges to human culture.

Each panelist will introduce a topic for about 15 minutes followed by an open discussion with the audience.


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Nick Lane Iceland
From geology to biology, the origin of life in the universe

Dr Nick Lane (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment)

How does a sterile planet give rise to living cells? Some geological environments have the perfect flow of energy to drive the formation and organization of organic molecules and eventually cells like bacteria. But getting from bacteria to more complex cells like our own is a much harder transition.

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Zita Martins

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The contribution of comets and meteorites to the origin of life

Dr Zita Martins (Imperial College London)  will talk about the delivery of the building blocks of life to Earth by comets and meteorites between 4.6 to 3.8 billion of years ago, and how this may have contributed to the origin of life on Earth.

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Peter Grindrod

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The Search for Life on Mars

Dr Peter Grindrod (Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck) will describe the ongoing search for life on Mars. This talk will outline our exploration of the planet, the evolution of habitability and the chances of finding life in the coming decades.

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Ian Crawford A

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Where are the aliens? The Drake equation revisited

Professor Ian Crawford (Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck)
Based around a discussion of the famous 'Drake Equation' (which provides a rough estimation of the number of civilisations in our galaxy), this talk will discuss what modern results in astrobiology tell us about the prospects for finding intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.


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Giovanna Tinetti

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Finding evidence for life in thousands of planets: the TWINKLE mission

Professor Giovanna Tinetti (UCL Physics & Astronomy) will talk about the upcoming TWINKLE mission, which will observe the atmospheres of planets around distant stars in search for the signature of life.



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You can also review here the lectures that took place in 2015.

Jonathan lecturing