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Tagged with “martin rees” (9)

  1. Martin Rees: Prospects for Humanity - The Long Now

    To think usefully about humanity’s future, you have to bear everything in mind simultaneously. Nobody has managed that better than Martin Rees in his succinct summing-up book: ON THE FUTURE: Prospects for Humanity.

    As the recent President of the Royal Society (and longtime Royal Astronomer), Rees is current with all the relevant science and technology. At 76, he has seen a lot of theories about the future come and go. He has expert comfort in thinking at cosmic scale and teaching the excitement of that perspective. He has explored the darkest scenarios in a previous book, OUR FINAL HOUR: A Scientist’s Warning (2004), which examined potential extreme threats from nuclear weapons, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, climate change, and terrorism. Civilization’s greatest danger comes from civilization itself, which now operates at planetary scale. Consequently, he says, to head off the hazards and realize humanity’s potentially fabulous prospects, "We need to think globally, we need to think rationally, we need to think long-term.”

    And we can.

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  2. The Life Scientific: Martin Rees

    Each week, Jim al-Khalili invites a leading scientist to tell us about their life and work. He’ll talk to Nobel laureates as well as the next generation of beautiful minds to find out what inspires and motivates them and what their discoveries might do for us.

    Jim enters the multiverse with Astronomer Royal Martin Rees. He’s worked on the big bang, black holes and the formation of galaxies but wants to know if there’s life elsewhere.

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  3. Martin Rees: Life’s Future in the Cosmos

    Cosmologist Martin Rees posits the question: What if human success on Earth determines life’s success in the universe? This program was recorded in collaboration with the Long Now Foundation, on August 2, 2010.

    This program features visual aids. A complete video version is available at:

    President of the Royal Society, England’s Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees brings a lifetime of cosmological inquiry to a crucial question: What if human success on Earth determines life’s success in the universe?

    He thinks that civilization’s chances of getting out of this century intact are about 50-50. He is hopeful that extraterrestrial life already exists, but there’s no sign of it yet. But even if we are now alone, he notes that we may not even be the halfway stage of evolution.

    There is huge scope for post-human evolution, so that "it will not be humans who watch the sun’s demise, 6 billion years from now. Any creatures that then exist will be as different from us as we are from bacteria or amoebae."

    Appropriately, Rees’s Long Now talk was at the Chabot Space and Science Center in the hills above Oakland, in the planetarium.

    Martin Rees is Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics and Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. He holds the honorary title of Astronomer Royal and also Visiting Professor at Imperial College London and at Leicester University.

    After studying at the University of Cambridge, he held post-doctoral positions in the UK and the USA, before becoming a professor at Sussex University. In 1973, he became a fellow of King’s College and Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at Cambridge (continuing in the latter post until 1991) and served for ten years as director of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy. From 1992 to 2003 he was a Royal Society Research Professor.

    Stewart Brand is a co-founder and managing director of Global Business Network, founded and runs the GBN Book Club, and is the president of The Long Now Foundation.

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  4. Reith Lecture 4: The Runaway World

    Astronomer Royal Professor Martin Rees explores the challenges facing science in the 21st century. In his final lecture he urges the UK to stay at the forefront of global scientific research and discovery. And he warns against the dangers of letting technology run away with us. Only if we refocus our energies on the long term, will we save ourselves and our planet.


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  5. Lord Martin Rees: Life and the Cosmos

    It’s famously called the Final Frontier, and thanks to rapidly developing technology we now know more about the outer reaches of our galaxy than ever. But that leaves unknowns.

    Does the universe have any limits? Are there any other earth-like planets out there? And the big one, are we alone?

    Addressing the University of Melbourne recently, Britain’s Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees, reports on the latest research.

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  6. Reith: Lecture 1 The Scientific Citizen

    Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, explores the challenges facing science in the 21st century. After the confusion caused by Iceland’s volcanic ash cloud and public health scares like swine flu, Professor Rees says scientists should get more involved in public debate. He calls on scientists from every field to engage more widely with government, the media and ordinary people. Only then can the science that affects us all be understood.

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  7. 6.67 x 10^-11 – The Number That Defines the Universe.

    Episode four of A Further Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.

    Newton’s equation of gravity included a number G, which indicates the strength of gravitation. It took 100 years before the shy Englishman Henry Cavendish (he left notes for his maids because he was too shy to talk to women) measured G to be 6.67 x 10^-11 Nm²/Kg². It allowed him to weigh the Earth itself. There has been an ever-greater desire to measure this number with accuracy, which even implied an antigravity at times. How did we measure this tiny number and what does it mean for the universe? The Astronomer Royal Martin Rees explains that a large value for G would mean that stars would burn too quickly and a low value would mean that the stars would not form in the first place, so is G perfectly tuned for life? Is God a mathematician?

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