Output : Popular Talks

I enjoy giving public talks - to astronomy societies, schools, festival audiences etc. Below are links to PDF versions of several such public talks. Requests welcome. Warning - the files are quite big.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) (3.9MB). This big new telescope will map the Universe in 4D and make a movie of the sky. It will tell us about killer rocks, dark matter, and the formation of the Milky Way. This was a ten minute talk given at a Cafe Science event at the National Museum in Edinburgh. Several astronomers pitched for their favourite projects and the audience voted with Monopoly money. LSST won !

Hunting the Dragon (9.3MB) This is a talk about Active Galactic Nuclei - the bizarre goings on caused black holes gobbling matter at the centres of galaxies. It has some history, some hot new stuff, and just a teeny bit of physics.

The Sun, the planets, and the stars (4.5MB) This is a simple introduction to the solar system and the stars for primary school children.

Our Place in the Universe (3.1MB) This looks at the scale of the Universe, its incredible violence, its complexity, and examines how we feel as human beings in the face of all this.

Cosmic Explorers (10.5MB) This goes over the history of mapping the sky, and how our resulting conception of the universe has altered. It then examines recent redshift surveys that have made 3D maps of the Universe, and new attempts to map the dark matter in the Universe using gravitational lensing.

Eyes on the Sky (2.8MB) This is a talk about telescopes, how they work, and the life of the observational astronomer. It takes a pretty broad definition of "telescope", including X-ray mirrors, radio interferometers, and the Earth as a neutrino telescope.

Visitor Centre Involvements

The ROE Visitor Centre offers shows with an inflateable planetarium (unofficially known as Mr Blobby) for a modest price. It can take about thirty small or twenty large children at a time and we have a standard show that lasts about 20-30 minutes and can be repeated for several groups during a visit. This is organised by the Visitor Centre, but do feel free to contact me as well.

The Visitor Centre also organises a regular series of "Winter Talks" and Friday night public observing sessions.