Here you’ll find brief reports of the talks we’ve heard at Society meetings. In these we try to include any web links or other pointers to further information that were provided by the speaker at the meeting. If you were at one of our meetings and would like to correct or expand the report relating to it then please use the Society’s contact form.
Our June 2017 Society Meeting saw a wonderfully entertaining talk from Dr Francisco Diego, University College London, who is currently a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr Diego hails originally from Mexico and is a keen populariser of natural sciences whilst also a lecturer, author and broadcaster.
His talk was titled “Aliens!…Where are you?” and, for me, was one of the most interesting talks I have ever been to! Dr Diego still has quite a strong accent but this fades away as his dynamic presentation grabs your attention. There is plenty of movement, examples and visual aids used to support his talk and by the end, as Tom Meecham our Treasurer quipped, you certainly can answer the question of “How long is a piece of string?”. If that confuses you, then I can only encourage you to attend this talk at some point in the future to get the answer to the riddle!
The talk ranged over a number of relevant topics that may account for life, primarily on Earth but with the potential for other planets wherever they may be. These included the formation of the stars, solar system and Moon; dynamic Earth, oceans and plate tectonics; cataclysmic extinctions of early Earth life; the fragility of living environments, through to the possibility of alien life in the galaxy or elsewhere. This last topic was rewarding for me as his conclusion was the same as mine ~ but I won’t spoil the ending!
Dr Diego completed the evening by answering a number of well thought out questions.
Thank you Dr Diego! I notice from his website that Dr Diego has a number of other talks in his portfolio and I can only hope that Tony asks him back as soon as possible.
Hugh Alford ~ Vice-Chair
In November we scheduled an extra meeting “It’s About Time” presented by Professor Donald Kurtz. Don Kurtz is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Central Lancashire. His research is in asteroseismology and magnetic stars and he teaches the undergraduate … Continue reading
A talk by Greg Smye-Rumsby. The planet Uranus is named after the Greek god Ouranos, meaning ‘sky’ or ‘heaven’. It is the coldest of the planets, an ice giant with a tumbling orbit which takes 84 years to orbit the … Continue reading
Roy Easto from Croydon Astronomical Society led a QI type quiz with two teams of two ‘volunteered’ from the membership. This was a change from our usual Christmas Quiz when everyone participates, but the teams played their parts sportingly and … Continue reading
Chris Lintott was unable to visit us as he was on La Palma, so Tony Sizer stepped into the gap at short notice, and gave us an informative and entertaining talk entitled Violent Universe. The Universe is not as benign … Continue reading
At our April meeting Andrew Norton of the Open University spoke to us about Finding Exoplanets. The idea of exoplanets has been around for a long time, but it is only in more recent years that they have been identified … Continue reading
The subject of March’s OAS meeting was The Antikythera Mechanism and the Mechanical Universe and it was presented by Professor Mike Edmunds. He started his talk with a brief history of its discovery. In 1901/2 a hoard of magnificent objects … Continue reading
Our November meeting was addressed by Jack Carlyle, a PhD student at MSSL, who gave us an entertaining and informative talk on how they observe the Sun. With the help of some amazing animations, including one of a collapsing sun, … Continue reading
Our May meeting was addressed by Alec Boksenberg, who gave us a lively talk about The Intergalactic Medium and Other Things. This was a very interesting and wide ranging talk including evidence that dark matter must exist. He said that … Continue reading
Our April meeting was addressed by Paul Money, who gave us a lively talk about his favourite Images of the Universe volume 1. He introduced 10 images and gave an interesting insight into each one. These included diverse topics such … Continue reading
Our October meeting was addressed by Andrew Coates (Mullard Space Science Laboratory), who gave us a talk about ExoMars. Miriam writes: This was a very informative talk about exploration of Mars, and how MSSL is working on an instrument called … Continue reading
Our October meeting was addressed by Brendan Owens (Royal Observatory, Greenwich), who gave us a talk with the title Solar Secrets: Understanding our Star, the Sun. Miriam writes: We were given a whistle-stop tour of the Sun covering sun spots, … Continue reading