As senior astronomer of the S.E.T.I. Institute in California tells Dick he has no doubt life exists in other parts of the universe, and believes scientists are getting closer to finding it â itâs just a matter of time.
Tagged with “astronomy” (9)
Jim al-Khalili talks to the astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell about missing out a Nobel Prize, sexism in science and a strange smudge in the data from a radio telescope. While others dismissed this smudge as insignificant, Jocelyn revealed a series of strange flashing signals. They might have been evidence of faulty radio telescope or even messages from a little green man; but Jocelyn thought otherwise and her determination to get to the bottom of it all, led to one of the most exciting discoveries in 20th century astronomy, the discovery of pulsars, those dense cores of collapsed stars.
Our science team takes stock of the textbook landing of Nasa’s Curiosity rover on Mars. Plus, we discuss why science in film works – and why it sometimes doesn’t.
This week we’ve assembled a panel of experts to feed your appetite for information about Nasa’s new star, the Mars Curiosity rover.
The plucky robot landed on the red planet at 6:14am UK time and immediately sent back images of its surroundings. Guardian science correspondent Ian Sample takes us through the complex landing procedure; planetary scientist Geraint Jones from University College London tells us what it’s like to be in the control room back on Earth when your lander reaches another planet; and our new astronomy blogger, Stuart Clark, walks us through Curiosity’s scientific goals.
Talking of alien worlds, science fans will be pleased to know that the Wellcome Trust has launched a new prize to encourage the production of high-quality feature films inspired by biology and medicine: from genetics and infectious diseases to consciousness and mental health.
Here to discuss good and bad science on the big and small screen are the Wellcome Trust media fellow and podcast regular, Kevin Fong, and the Wellcome Trust’s games and film expert Iain Dodgeon.
We also have the space junkie and self-confessed geek Helen Keen on the show. She’s hoping to win audiences at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival with a show that exposes her love for all things robotic. We’ll talk to her about her new show – Robot Woman of Tomorrow – and get her thoughts on the Curiosity rover too.
Black Holes seem to have bad press that is largely undeserved. This lecture with professor Ian Morison explains what Black Holes are, and how we can discover them even through they can’t be seen.
This program was recorded in collaboration with Gresham College, on October 27, 2010.
Gresham Professor of Astronomy Ian Morison made his first telescope at the age of 12 with lenses given to him by his optician. Having studied Physics, Maths and Astronomy at Oxford, he became a radio astronomer at the Jodrell Bank Observatory and teaches Astronomy and Cosmology at the University of Manchester.
Over 25 years he has also taught Observational Astronomy to many hundreds of adult students in the North West of England. An active amateur optical astronomer, he is a council member and past president of the Society for Popular Astronomy in the United Kingdom.
At Jodrell Bank he was a designer of the 217 KM MERLIN array and has coordinated the Project Phoenix SETI Observations using the Lovell Radio Telescope. He contributes astronomy articles and reviews for New Scientist and Astronomy Now, and produces a monthly sky guide on the Observatory’s website.
The acclaimed British-born theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist Paul Davies is the director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science and co-director of the Cosmology Initiative, both at Arizona State University. He is also a member of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence’s (SETI) post-detection committee. Among his numerous scientific distinctions, Davies is a recipient of the prestigious Templeton Prize for his work on science and religion. His writings include the bestsellers The Mind of God, About Time, How to Build a Time Machine, The Fifth Miracle, and The Goldilocks Enigma. In his provocative new book, Davies challenges existing ideas of what form an alien intelligence might take, how it might try to communicate with us, and how we should respond if we ever do make contact. Free Library Festival (recorded 4/17/2010)
Every couple of years, the earth is hit by a body with energy near that of the Hiroshima bomb. Deposited high in the atmosphere these events causes little or no damage. On longer timescales, impacts occur with the potential to destroy regions, or whole civilizations. Learn about the impact threat, followed by a systematic development of the requirements to divert such an object.
It is thought planets have dynamos in their centre. This explains the intensity and geometry of the magnetic fields found on the surface. The dynamo is in the form of a fluid sphere of molten iron which is churning around producing electric currents and magnetic fields. But Mars has a strange field. Only the southern hemisphere has a strong magnetic field, emanating from the crust. Secondly, this crustal field is very strong, about ten times what’s found on Earth or other rocky planets. This is one of a range of amazing anomalies with Mars. Saturn has other problems. Its fields are too perfect. Sabine Stanley explains.
There is simple evidence that, even in recent times, the Earth has suffered major impacts from asteroids and comets. What dangers do they hold for our civilisation?
Major efforts now being made to detect those that might harm us and strategies are being developed to prevent their impacts. But we do have a problem with comets…
Cassini has given us a whole new view of Saturn, Titan, and other moons of this amazing and beautiful ringed world. Kevin Grazier from Cassini provides an overview of what has been learned so far from the mission and talks with Bob Mitchell, the Cassini Program Manager, and John Smith, the Cassini tour designer.