11th September 2014, 11:48am
Astronomer Royal invites Lincoln audience to explore galaxies far, far away
Professor Lord Martin Rees Astronomer Royal, Professor Lord Martin Rees of Ludlow, is one of the world’s most respected cosmologists and astrophysicists, and he will visit the University of Lincoln to explore the mysteries of our galaxy in a free public lecture.

Regularly referred to as Britain’s “top scientist”, Lord Rees was formerly President of the Royal Society and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He has authored more than 500 research papers, and has a comet in his name.

As part of the University of Lincoln’s prestigious Great Minds lecture series, which welcomes high profile speakers from all over the world, Lord Rees will take the stage on Tuesday 23rd September 2014.

His talk, entitled Space Exploration, Life and the Cosmos, will provide an inspirational insight for school pupils, university students and members of the public into the vast impact of the space age.

This period is widely recognised as beginning in 1957, with the launch of the first artificial satellite of Earth. In little more than 50 years, the discoveries and developments of the space age have fundamentally changed the world in which we live, from the technology which underpins modern communication networks to our understanding of the origins of the universe.

Throughout his illustrious career, Lord Rees has conducted extensive research in this area. His current cosmology and astrophysics research includes studies of gamma ray bursts, galactic nuclei, black holes and cosmic structure formation – with a particular focus on the early generation of stars and galaxies, which developed more than 12 billion years ago.

Lord Rees is a Fellow of Trinity College and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, and he holds the honorary title of Astronomer Royal. From 1992 to 2003 he was a Royal Society Research Professor, and then from 2004 to 2012, Master of Trinity College. In 2005 he was appointed to the House of Lords, and also named as President of the Royal Society – a position he held for five years.

During his visit to Lincoln, Lord Rees will ask his audience to consider many of the unanswered questions that astronomers still ponder today. Unmanned probes have visited the planets of our Solar System, but will human explorers soon follow? Or will the Solar System always remain an arena for robots and fabricators?

He will invite his audience to consider that within our Galaxy, there are billions of planets like Earth, and that our Galaxy is itself just one of billions.

Professor Rees said: “The stupendous timespans of the evolutionary past are now part of common culture. Our present biosphere is the outcome of more than four billion years of evolution, but most people still somehow think we humans are necessarily the culmination of the evolutionary tree.  No astronomer could believe that.”

Professor Andrew Hunter, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Science at the University of Lincoln, said: “These are exciting times for science at the University of Lincoln. As we are just opening our new School of Mathematics and Physics, it is a particular delight to welcome Professor Lord Martin Rees, one of the UK’s most eminent astrophysicists.”

The Great Minds lecture, Space Exploration, Life and the Cosmos, will take place in the EMMTEC Lecture Theatre, on the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool Campus. Attendance is free and limited places are available for the public, but advanced booking in essential. Registration begins at 5:30pm.

For more information or to reserve your place, call the University of Lincoln Events team on 01522 837100, or visit the Events pages of the website: http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/campuslife/whatson/eventsconferences/sir-martin-rees.html.
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