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Talking Science with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

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Free and fascinating talks from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

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As part of Rutherford Appleton Laboratory's Talking Science programme, we have a fantastic series of talks lined up for you, and we do hope you'll be able to join us for them! The talks cover everything from the development of a vaccine against COVID-19 to the ongoing search for the mysterious dark matter,

We now plan to run Talking Science entirely via Zoom until at least the end of March 2021 with talks only taking place once at 7pm. We will review the local and national situation in February/March with a hope to run Talking Science on site at RAL from April 2021. We will continue to broadcast the talks on Zoom, whether or not they take place at the lab.

If you're not able to join the webinar live, but would like a recording of it, please register and select the option to receive the recording on the order form.

To allow you to book more than one ticket at once, the date of the talk is shown in your ticket name, not in the time shown on Eventbrite. We will send you a reminder email in the run up to each talk you have booked.

Talks coming up:

FRIDAY 20 NOVEMBER, 19:00 - Crystals and the search for life (suitable for ages 12+), by Dr Aaron Celestian (Natural History Museum, Los Angeles)

  • Since the question “does life exist on other planets in our solar system?” cannot be directly answered at the moment, we have to rephrase the question to address where life can exist, and then do the experiments on Earth to narrow down the areas to explore in our vast solar system. Life is being discovered in many new and wonderful environments that we didn’t think life could possibly exist before. One unusual environmental is inside minerals, and bacteria trapped in these crystals can tell us a lot about where life could live elsewhere in our solar system.

FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER, 19:00 - Development of a vaccine against COVID-19 (suitable for ages 15+), by Professor Sarah Gilbert (Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford University)

  • The first news of a cluster of SARS-like pneumonia cases came on the last day of 2019. Since that time, as the outbreak turned into a pandemic, vaccine developers began to activate plans for ‘Disease X’. In Oxford, a vaccine was rapidly produced and prepared for clinical trials. The original plans for a small study developed into phase III trials involving thousands of participants across a wide age range on multiple continents. The ability to move quickly, as demonstrated by this vaccine programme, will have lasting effects on the way we see vaccine development in future.

FRIDAY 15 JANUARY, 19:00 - Becoming an astronaut (suitable for ages 8+) by Dr Jackie Bell (Imperial College London)

  • Have you ever dreamed of becoming an astronaut and exploring the near and far reaches of space? Join Dr Jackie Bell, mathematician and theoretical particle physicist, as she takes us on a journey through the history of human spaceflight and her own astronaut training experience as a candidate on the BBC documentary series “Astronauts: Do you have what it takes?”

FRIDAY 19 FEBRUARY, 19:00 - Jurassic-sized headaches in the field! (suitable for ages 8+) by Professor Phil Manning (University of Manchester)

  • You are in the middle of nowhere. It is 40 degrees Celsius. A dust storm has sprung out of nowhere…and you have 6000 kg of precious dinosaur bones suspended in mid-air. You are beginning to lose site of the truck on which you have to place the load. The rapidly disappearing truck is a mere 10 metres away, but it might as well be a mile. Join Prof. Phil Manning on a journey from the 'fun' of excavating dinosaurs in the field to the excitement of studying them at the synchrotron.

FRIDAY 12 MARCH, 19:00 - One tough cookie (suitable for ages 5+) by Amanda Brummitt (UKAEA Culham Centre for Fusion Energy)

  • What can a biscuit tell us about engineering and the strength of the materials around us? It turns out quite a lot! Join engineer Amanda Brummitt as she uses cookie dough, oven temperatures and a recipe for disaster to explain engineering materials.

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