Talks to Southport Scientific Society

Apollo 13

9 Apr 2020   < Cancelled due to COVID-19 >

In April 1970 the Apollo 13 mission "had a problem". The heroic efforts of mission control to rescue the three astronauts are well documented. This short talk covers some of the perhaps not-so-well-known aspects of the mission.

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Fiat Lux

14 Nov 2019

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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Lighter Side of Astronomy

13 Dec 2018

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

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Star of Bethlehem

14 Dec 2017

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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Warping Space and Time

8 Dec 2016

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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Legacy of the Hubble Space Telescope

10 Dec 2015

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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Putting People Under the Microscope

27 Nov 2014

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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Dark Matter

28 Nov 2013

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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Wildlife Photography

22 Nov 2012

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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Beginning of Everything

24 Nov 2011

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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How Stars Tick

11 Nov 2010

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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Great Moon Hoax

28 Jan 2010

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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What's Happening at the Frontiers of Physics?

13 Nov 2008

An overview of some of the latest research from the Department of Physics at the University of Liverpool.

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The Curious World of the Very Very Small

24 Jan 2008

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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Eclipse of the Sun

8 Feb 2007

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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Under Serengeti Skies

26 Jan 2006

Illustrated with images taken from a safari to Tanzania, this talk covers wildlife photography by day and astrophotography by night.

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Ramble Through the Night Sky

11 Nov 2004

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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Keeping an Eye on the Universe

13 Nov 2003

This is the story of how astronomical telescopes have developed over the centuries, from the earliest refractors (using lenses) to the latest reflectors (using mirrors).

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Steve Barrett      March 2020
Link to Southport Scientific Society
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