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Tickets released for the next set of SPS OU@50 talks

We have an exciting set of talks coming up, presented by some of our academics in the School of Physical Sciences. These will be presented live on campus in Milton Keynes, but also available vis livestream for those who can't join in person. Eventbrite links have been set-up for registering for tickets. Please see below. More talks, to take place in October and November, will be announced here shortly. Follow us on Twitter for the most up-to-date information.

 

  • Professor Monica Grady will be speaking about: 1969 and All That on Thursday September 5th

1969 was the year when Neil Armstrong took his small step on the Moon. But the Moon was not the only planetary body that started to give up its secrets in 1969. Two spacecraft flew closer to Mars than ever before, picturing its cratered surface and one of its polar caps. Two large meteorites fell, one in Mexico, the other in Australia. They were not from the same asteroid, but each carried crucial information about happened as the Sun was born. Two astronomers in Kazakhstan discovered a comet that was subsequently given their names, Churyumov and Gerasimenko. The comet was the target of the European Space Agency’s incredibly successful Rosetta mission. And finally, a party of Japanese glaciologists found fragments from nine separate meteorites together on a patch of blue ice. Since then, another 50,000 meteorites have been recovered from Antarctica. Monica Grady was involved in the Rosetta mission and has collected meteorites in Antarctica. She has studied meteorites from the asteroid belt, from the Moon and from Mars. In her talk, she will explain what, 50 years later, we have learnt about the Solar System from the events of 1969.

There will be a Question and Answer session after the talk. Please email your questions to STEM-News@open.ac.uk

​To sign-up for a ticket, and get more information please see this link. If you can't join us in person, please select the online attendance ticket to join us remotely.

 

  • Professor Stephen Sergeant will be speaking about: Citizen Science and the Data Avalanche on Thursday September 12th

Did you know people are better at classifying tasks then computers? Can crowdsourcing help us to classify data of the universe?

Astronomy and particle physics have begun a new data-rich era of discovery, from finding warps in space and time to new particles in accelerators. But the data avalanche is so fast, so large and so complex that it’s a challenge for computing. Artificial Intelligence (AI) regularly offers no easy solutions. Humans are still often much better than AI at classification tasks. This has led to a new way of doing science: crowdsourcing, with the help of citizen science volunteers. This gives members of the public a genuine and valuable participation in scientific discovery, and there is a huge public appetite for taking part. Stephen Serjeant, Professor of Astronomy, will show you how you can join in, and review some of the highlights of our citizen science on the leading crowdsourcing platform, the Zooniverse.

There will be a Question and Answer session after the talk. Please email your questions to STEM-News@open.ac.uk

​To sign-up for a ticket, and get more information please see this link. If you can't join us in person, please select the online attendance ticket to join us remotely.

 

  • Professor Stephen Lewis will be speaking about: A Blue Planet to a Frozen Desert - Exploring the Environments of Venus, Earth and Mars on Thursday October 10th

Venus, Earth and Mars all have active and changing atmospheres, important not least in determining whether each planet is suitable for life. Earth today is a vibrant blue planet, teeming with life, while Venus is hot enough to melt lead and has a toxic atmosphere, and Mars is frozen and dry, with no liquid water at the surface. But this has not always been the case: over four billion years ago, Earth was not the most welcoming home for life to begin. In this talk Professor Stephen Lewis will discuss the role played by the weather and climate on each planet, how this is important for spacecraft exploration today and why understanding other planets can tell us more about the Earth. The talk will describe some of the science behind The Planets TV series, first shown on BBC 2 earlier this year.

There will be a Question and Answer session after the talk. Please email your questions to STEM-News@open.ac.uk

​To sign-up for a ticket, and get more information please see this link. If you can't join us in person, please select the online attendance ticket to join us remotely.

 

Previous talks:

Andrew Norton and Simon Green kicked off proceedings back in April with an evening of two talks: The Clockwork Universe - adventures in time-domain astrophysics, and Prof Green on: Near-Earth Asteroids: A matter of life and death? If you missed these then you can catch-up online here.