Public lecture: How Green is the Universe?

IC 405, the Flaming Star Nebula

IC 405, the Flaming Star Nebula
Full Image (224.84K)

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A free public lecture about the impact of astronomy and space exploration on the environment will be held in Scott Theatre at the University of Adelaide in July as part of a major conference on astronomy.

The guest public speaker is Professor Fred Watson AM, Astronomer-in-Charge of the Australian Astronomical Observatory, who is well known for his work to popularise astronomy and space science.

Professor Watson will deliver the public Harley Wood Lecture as part of the forthcoming Annual Scientific Meeting of the Astronomical Society of Australia, being held at the University of Adelaide from 4-8 July.

"We're very pleased to be hosting this conference, which brings together some of Australia's and the world's biggest names in astronomical sciences," said conference organiser Dr Gavin Rowell from the University of Adelaide's School of Chemistry & Physics.

"The conference will provide opportunities to share information about the exciting new projects within Australian astronomy and discuss future opportunities and directions."

"Among the many speakers at the conference are those talking about how stars form, how galaxies form, the role of gamma rays, gravitational waves, the search for dark matter and dark energy, the search for 'exo-planets' and Earth-like habitable planets, the latest instruments being used by astronomers, and the search for molecules and gas in space.

"The Harley Wood Lecture, on a topic of broad public interest, is being given by one of Australia's best communicators in astronomy and space science, Professor Fred Watson," he said.

WHAT: Free public lecture: How Green is the Universe? by Professor Fred Watson AM, Astronomer-in-Charge, Australian Astronomical Observatory

WHERE: Scott Theatre (off Kintore Avenue), North Terrace Campus, University of Adelaide

WHEN: 8.00pm Tuesday 5 July

COST: FREE - all welcome

Abstract

'Space junk reaches new levels', 'Endangered squirrels under threat from observatory', 'Nuclear reactor sent into space', 'Toxic rocket fuel found down-range of launch site' - with headlines like these, you might be forgiven for thinking astronomy and space exploration are pretty hard on the environment.

Not so, argues astronomer Fred Watson in this provocative and entertaining talk. When the big picture is taken into account, the credentials of these high-tech sciences are greener than you might imagine. At least, as far as life on planet Earth is concerned.

About the speaker

Professor Watson has been Astronomer-in-Charge of the Australian Astronomical Observatory since 1995. He also holds adjunct positions at the University of Southern Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and James Cook University.

Fred has helped to popularise astronomy and space science through broadcasts, talks and other outreach programs, winning the 2006 Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science.

He has written a number of award-winning books, including Why is Uranus upside down? and Stargazer, The Life and Times of the Telescope. A life-long passion for music led in 2008 to both a lighthearted CD (An Alien Like You) and the APRA Award for Choral Work of the Year for Star Chant, which he wrote with Australian composer Ross Edwards.

Fred was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010. He has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson), but says that if it hits the Earth, it won't be his fault.

For more information about the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Astronomical Society
of Australia, go to: www.physics.adelaide.edu.au/astrophysics/asa2011

 

Contact Details

Dr Gavin Rowell
Email: growell@physics.adelaide.edu.au
High Energy Astrophysics Group
School of Chemistry and Physics
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 8374
Mobile: +61 416 638 248


Ms Robyn Mills
Email: robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084