Space Lectures

Monthly evening lectures, each followed by a short planetarium show.

These Wednesday lectures are aimed at a level a little above most popular science lectures, so come prepared to exercise your brain and learn the science behind the headlines. The speakers are chosen from the best academic speakers in the UK, with a talent for explaining difficult concepts and the knowledge to give the very latest news from the research community. 

Although the primary audience is adults, older children are also welcome to attend.

Tickets

4:30pm lecture: £8

6:30pm lecture £10

Multiple bookings: 5-for-4 ticket offer for phone or in-person bookings only. You must book all five tickets at the same time, specifying all dates and times.

 Dates

Lectures run on the third Wednesday of the month unless detailed otherwise.

Click the title for further information:


20 November 2019 - How to heat up dark matter

Professor Justin Read (University of Surrey)

Abstract: Since its discovery by the Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky in the 1930's, dark matter has continued to capture the public imagination. It raises the velocity of stars and gas in galaxies, bends light around massive galaxy clusters and promotes the growth of structure in the Universe. In this talk, I will explain the key evidences for dark matter, and our latest theories for what it is. In particular, I will focus on new results from our group in Surrey that show that dark matter can be "heated up" and moved around at the centres of tiny "dwarf" galaxies. I show that this points to dark matter comprising a new particle of nature that remains to be found. I conclude with a discussion of the latest experiments that are trying to detect or create such a particle in the laboratory.

The Lecturer: Prof. Justin Read is Head of Physics at the University of Surrey. His main area of research is gravitational probes of dark matter, studying everything from the tiniest galaxies in the Universe, where we can measure how dark matter clusters on the smallest scales, to giant clusters of galaxies, where we can produce images of the distribution of dark matter using gravitational lensing.

Prof. Read completed his PhD in theoretical astrophysics at Cambridge University, UK in 2004. After a two-year postdoctoral research position, also in Cambridge, he moved to the University of Zürich to join the computational science group. In 2009, he joined the University of Leicester as a lecturer in theoretical astrophysics, and in October 2010 he was awarded an SNF assistant professorship at the ETH Zürich. In April 2013, he took up a full Chair at the University of Surrey. Prof. Read was awarded the 2013 MERAC Prize by the European Astronomical Society for his high impact research in computational astrophysics and cosmology. He is a fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Royal Physiographic Society of Lund.

 


18 December 2019 - The music of stars reveals their deep interiors

Dr. Giovanni Mirouh

Abstract: In olden times, arts and science were associated as tools to describe the world. Greek philosophers described a mystical Universe where each planet and star would have a corresponding note, creating a cosmic orchestra.
This description fell into oblivion until 1960 and the discovery of variations in the Solar luminosity. These variations come from surface vibrations caused by sound waves within the Sun, that resonates just like a (very big) bell. Most stars show similar variations, the real music of stars.

It opened for the first time a window to the interior of the stars, and created whole new field of research: asteroseismology. I will link recent results in this field, which is at the core of my current research, with basics of music theory. In the end, we will see that the vibrations of stars are not very different from those of a guitar string, and can even be used to compose pieces that are, quite literally, out of this world.

The Lecturer: Dr. Giovanni Mirouh is a research fellow at the University of Surrey. His research focuses on asteroseismology and evolution of massive stars: these stars produce the most heavy elements of the universe (such as the ones planets are made of), and they evolve into black holes and neutron stars. Their study is complex as these stars rotate fast and often have binary companions, two phenomena that still call for a better description.

Dr. Mirouh obtained his PhD. in 2016 from the University of Toulouse (France), then moving to the International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA, Trieste, Italy) before the University of Surrey. He is also involved in the Kepler and TESS collaborations.


15 January 2020 - Dissecting dots: exploring the diversity of alien worlds

Dr Ben Burningham

Abstract: The last decade has brought an explosion in the number of planets beyond the solar system that are known to science, revealing an incredible diversity of alien worlds and planetary systems which continue to surprise and intrigue scientists. Dr Ben Burningham (University of Hertfordshire) will take you on a tour of this planetary zoo, and bring you up to date on the hunt for oases of habitability in the harshness of the cosmos. 

The Lecturer: Dr Ben Burningham is a Senior Research Fellow and Director of Outreach and Public Engagement at the University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Astrophysics Research. His research focuses on remote sensing the atmospheres of giant exoplanets and brown dwarfs. He earned his PhD from the University of Exeter in 2006. He has worked at the University of Hertfordshire since 2007, with periods of secondment to the National Observatory of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro (2012 - 2014), and NASA Ames Research Center, California (2014 - 2016).


12 February 2020 - TBC

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18 March 2020 - TBC

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22 April 2020 - TBC

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20 May 2020 - TBC

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17 June 2020 - TBC

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15 July 2020 - TBC

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4.30pm Space Lecture tickets include:
 
 

4.00pm 

Entry to upper exhibition and cafe

4.30pm

Lecture followed by Q&A and a short break

5.45pm

Planetarium show

6.00pm

Event ends


 

6.30pm Space Lecture tickets include:
 
 

5.00pm

Entry to upper exhibition and cafe

6.30pm

Lecture followed by Q&A and a short break

7.45pm

Planetarium show

8.00pm

Event ends, Science Centre closes

 

Wednesday 20 November
4:30pm
Wednesday 20 November
6:30pm
Wednesday 18 December
4:30pm
Wednesday 18 December
6:30pm
Wednesday 15 January
4:30pm
Wednesday 15 January
6:30pm
Wednesday 12 February
4:30pm
Wednesday 12 February
6:30pm
Wednesday 18 March
4:30pm
Wednesday 18 March
6:30pm
Wednesday 22 April
4:30pm
Wednesday 22 April
6:30pm
Wednesday 20 May
4:30pm
Wednesday 20 May
6:30pm
Wednesday 17 June
4:30pm
Wednesday 17 June
6:30pm
Wednesday 15 July
4:30pm
Wednesday 15 July
6:30pm
No results found

Advisory

Visual warning: as with all planetarium shows, the show taking place after the lecture includes large moving images which may affect people with photosensitive epilepsy, balance disorders and/or extreme motion sickness.