Two hundred years ago on a cold winter’s night in January, fourteen men sat down to dinner at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London. They agreed to form the Astronomical Society of London – which would become the Royal Astronomical Society in 1831. What sort of men were they? What were they hoping to achieve? In this bicentenary year the talk will look at these colourful characters – some famous, some less well known – with a few others from the early membership, and ask: what was known about the Universe at that time?
Pleae note that this is an invitation only event.
Variety in astronomical orbits
Gravitation dominates the dynamics of the Universe on scales larger than a few kilometres, and so orbital motion is the basic motion of bodies in the Universe. The variety of orbital motions is much wider than the set of elliptical shapes that are used as an approximation in the Solar System. In this lecture I will extend the concept or orbital motion into more general classes of orbits, such as those around rotating black holes.
… is the William P. Coldrick Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Bristol, and also holds visiting appointments with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Chalmers University. He is well-known for work on jets from active galaxies, structures in the microwave background radiation, and perturbation theory in jet physics and general relativity.
Herschel: A Space Observatory’s Legacy
Dr Chris North will recap the Herschel Space Observatory, in terms of the mission design and its science goals, and the discoveries that have been made from it. From planets to supermassive galaxies, the range of discoveries is vast. The science continues apace, even nearly 10 years after Herschel’s launch, and new results are continuing to come out. He’ll look to the future, and what upcoming missions will do to build on the legacy of Herschel.
The Herschel Space observatory was an infrared telescope and so this lecture will complement the Herschel Museum’s current theme of infrared which was famously discovered to be a constituent of the solar spectrum by William Herschel.
The final highlight in Terry Ransome’s working life was to work at the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan from where Yuri Gagarin embarked on the first human spaceflight. It is still busy today launching astronauts and cosmonauts to the International Space Station and lots more.
He took with him the UK’s Mars Lander Beagle2, the probe that was ‘lost’ on Mars on Christmas 2003, but ‘found’ 11 years later.
In this talk he tells of his Beagle2 and Kazakhstan experiences and how Beagle2 was eventually found and identified on the Red Planet. A
postscript tells of the latest (2016) European attempt at a Mars landing and looks ahead to the future.
Dr Sarah Rugheimer (Simons Research Fellow at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of St Andrews) is an outstanding early career researcher studying the atmospheric composition of exoplanets, and the potential of these atmospheres to provide fingerprints of conditions that can sustain life. Her key results include showing how clouds can complicate the detection of oxygen in an exoplanet’s atmosphere, and how a star’s ultraviolet radiation affects the ability to detect signatures of life on its orbiting planets. Her energy and vision were central to the creation of the Centre for Exoplanet Science at St Andrews, where she has integrated and utilised insights ranging from the geochemical and isotopic character of the Earth’s rock archive to the fundamental physics of how a planet’s atmosphere forms. Her lectures demonstrate a rare clarity of understanding, and she has proved effective at presenting scientific concepts to the public.
This talk starts in Georgian Bath where former members of the British East India Company came to take the waters and exchanged ideas about the mathematics that they had found in Bengal. It will trace the development of Indian Mathematics and the vital concept of Zero from its origins in ancient astronomy to its use in commerce and science.
Dr Peter Ford was a shadow trustee of the reformed BRLSI from 1990-1993. He was then one of the first trustees representing the University of Bath and later the membership of the BRLSI. He has lived in Lansdown Crescent for forty years half of which was spent in the Physics Department of the University of Bath. He was chair of the William Herschel Society for nine years. In 2008 he was awarded MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for “services to higher education and science”.
Deepali Gaskell. Marriage brought Deepali to Bath, where she now lives. Her interest in Astronomy and Mathematics nurtured by her mother who was an historian and archaeologist was revived when she came across, in her voluntary work with the National Trust, the collection of books in the library at Stourhead which included the Asiatick Researches commissioned by the British East India Company in the 1770’s. This has provided much of the material for this talk.
Deepali has also referred to the Records Office and to the collection in the archives of BRLSI, where she found Newton’s Principia Mathematica, Max Muller’s translation from the Veda, and Journals of the East India Company all of which helped to produce this talk. Deepali is on the Publications and Website committees at BRLSI.