Thursday, 8 March 2012

"Island Universes"

Greetings, and welcome to my blog!   

As you'll see from my profile and webpage, I am an astrophysicist from the University of Glasgow.  In October 2010 I was appointed as a Science in Society Fellow for the Science and Technology Facilities Council: the national funding body that supports UK research in astronomy.  

My fellowship project is called "Exploring the Dark Side of the Universe", which says as much about me being a Star Wars fan as it does about my research into cosmology and gravitational waves!  On March 3rd 2012 I gave a lecture on "The Physics of Star Wars", as part of the Festival of Science organised in Bristol by the Institute of Physics:  as you'll see, I had an unexpected guest...

National Science and Engineering Week 2012 

On Sunday March 11th,  which marks the first weekend of National Science and Engineering Week,  I'll be heading off to the Scottish Hebridean islands, for 10 days of schools and public lectures about some of the biggest questions in science, featuring a whistle-stop tour through thirteen billion years of cosmic history:  exploding stars, colliding black holes, dark matter, dark energy and the very latest theories of the Big Bang.  You can find out here where I'll be visiting along the way.

Map of Martin's "Island Universe" destinations

My first port of call is Stornoway on the Island of Lewis, where I'll be giving schools lectures in the Nicolson Institute and a public talk at An Lanntair, on Monday 12th March.  Details of my An Lanntair public talk can be found here.

Here's a quick run-down on where I'll be and when (with links to my public talks):

  • Monday March 12th:  Nicolson Institute and An Lanntair, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (map ref. 1)
  • Tuesday March 13th: Sir E. Scott Secondary School, Tarbert, Isle of Harris (map ref. 2), and Portree Community Library, Portree, Isle of Skye (map ref. 3)
  • Wednesday March 14th: Portree High School, Portree, Isle of Skye (map ref. 3).
  • Thursday March 15th: Liniclate School, Benbecula (map ref. 4) and Castlebay Community Hall, Castlebay, Isle of Barra (map ref. 5)
  • Friday March 16th: Oban High School, Oban, Argyll & Bute (map ref. 6)
  • Saturday March 17th: Tiree High School, and Scarinish Hotel, Isle of Tiree (map ref. 7)
  • Sunday March 18th: An Tobar, Tobermory, Isle of Mull (map ref. 8)
  • Monday March 19th: Tobermory High School, Isle of Mull (map ref. 8)
  • Tuesday March 20th: Islay High School, Bowmore, Isle of Islay (map ref. 9)
All of the public talks are free and open to all ages.  Weather permitting, I hope to lead some stargazing sessions after each of the public talks, taking advantage of the Hebrides' wonderful dark skies.  Watch out on this blog and on twitter (@martin_astro) for news of what can be seen in the skies during National Science and Engineering week.

I'll be blogging and tweeting on my travels, and hopefully bringing you a flavour of the Hebrides from the many islands and communities I'll be visiting.  I'll also be recording many of my lectures for later broadcast on youtube.  

I'm hugely looking forward to the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and talk about some of the most exciting discoveries in science!   For now it's time to start packing, and planning the drive up to Ullapool on Sunday afternoon.

May the force be with you,

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