Talks and Presentations








200@70

The 200" Hale Telescope on Palomar Mountain has been in operation for the past 70 years. This is the story of its design and construction.


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ABC of Stellar Evolution

A look at the birth, life and death of stars. What are the three critical factors (the ABC) that determine why stars are the way they are and why they evolve the way they do?


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Astrophotography

Photographing the night sky without ridiculously expensive equipment. What can be done with a digital camera, a tripod, a bit of ingenuity and very little else?


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Beginning of Everything

A brief description of the origin and the very early history of the Universe. It took about three minutes to kick-start the Universe. If this happened 13.8 billion years ago, how can we be so sure?


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Dark Matter

More than 80% of all the matter in the Universe is dark matter. Why is it dark? What is the evidence that makes us think that dark matter exists? What is dark matter made of? Does it matter? What are the consequences if dark matter does not exist?


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Eclipse of the Sun

Why do solar eclipses happen and what determines how often they occur? An explanation of the theory and an account of a trip to the Sahara Desert in 2006 to observe and photograph a total eclipse.


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Fiat Lux

A talk on the nature of light with measurements of the speed of light and the wavelength of light, and demonstrations of splitting light into its component colours and different types of polarisation of light.


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Fiat Lux II

A sequel to Fiat Lux, this talk looks at how the nature of light has influenced the design and construction of optical telescopes.


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Fiat Lux III

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will survey many billions of galaxies, stars and planets and will address the most profound questions concerning our solar system, our Milky Way galaxy, and enigmatic dark matter and dark energy.


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Great Moon Hoax

As we all know, the Apollo moonlandings of the late 1960s and early 1970s were faked by NASA. What is the 'evidence' that supports this claim and does it stand up to scientific scrutiny?


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Legacy of the Hubble Space Telescope

A brief history of the Hubble Space Telescope and a description of its legacy in terms of its scientific contributions to our understanding and the way that it touched the public consciousness.


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Lighter Side of Astronomy *

A light-hearted look at astronomy and astronomers, plus some of the weird and wonderful telescopes that they use.


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Putting People Under the Microscope

From a world of atoms to a world of living matter. This talk describes how microscopes, that can resolve features from microns down to less than a nanometre, can be used to image atoms and molecules, and can be applied in the earth sciences and medical sciences.


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Ramble Through the Night Sky

A general interest talk on astronomy and astrophotography. A description of what's up there, how you can find your way around, how you can see more and how you can photograph the night sky.


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Science of Santa *

A short tongue-in-cheek 'stocking-filler' talk for the festive season. Is Santa Claus real? Can the myth be reconciled with scientific reasoning?


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Star of Bethlehem *

A light-hearted look at the Gospel of St Matthew. What are the astronomical candidates for the Star of Bethlehem? How well do they fit the account? Do known events fit the timeline of the nativity?


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UFOs

Are there any images of UFOs that need an extraterrestrial explanation? This talk looks at some images that may have more down-to-earth origins.


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Warping Space and Time

The science fact and science fiction of black holes. How are they formed, what are their properties and how can we 'observe' them? What about TV and the movies? Does Hollywood ever get it right?


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Week Above the Clouds *

Every year astrophysics students from Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Liverpool are taken on an astronomy field trip to Teide Observatory on Tenerife.


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Weird World of the Very Very Small

How do we describe the world on a scale of atoms and molecules? The concepts underlying quantum mechanics seem to be at odds with common sense, but quantum theory describes reality on the atomic scale.


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Wildlife Photography

Illustrated with images taken over many years of african safaris, this talk describes how wildlife photographs can be improved by considering composition, focus, lighting, shutter speed and lens aperture.


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Steve Barrett      December 2018

S.D.Barrett@liv.ac.uk
Talks are nominally 75 minutes in length except for those marked with a * which are about half that.

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