This year's exciting Christmas lecture will be delivered by Prof. Bernard Golding, Newcastle University, followed by a mulled wine mixer event in the Faraday Room, Bedson Building. Refreshments have been provided by the RSC Newcastle upon Tyne and North East Coast Local Section.
'The lecture will describe the search for ‘Earth’s twin’, a planet with similar characteristics and capable of supporting life. This quest has recently been advanced with the discovery of a candidate orbiting the star Proxima Centauri, the nearest neighbour of our sun. The reddish planet, named Proxima b, is at a distance from its sun that could sustain liquid water and possibly life. The lecture will review our current understanding of the origin of life and speculate on how life on Proxima b might compare to Earth. I will then explore the evolution of Christmas on Earth, ultimately focussing on the North East, and wondering how Xmas might be celebrated on Proxima b. The recently conceived Breakthrough Starshot initiative proposes laser-propelled spaceships that could reach Proxima b within 20 years. Suggestions will be invited as to who could man (or woman) this vessel careering through space at one fifth the speed of light. I have my own ideas and whoever matches any of my choices wins a prize. The lecture will finish with a demonstration of a spaceship suitably manned and fired to Proxima b.'
The lecture is free to attend but tickets must be booked through Eventbrite for both the lecture and the mulled wine mixer event.