The 18-19 Lecture Series
SEMESTER 1
24th September 2018

A fun and informative guide to the biggest unanswered questions in the Universe. PHD Comics creator Jorge Cham and particle physicist Daniel Whiteson team up to explain everything we DON'T know about the Universe, from Cosmic Rays and Dark Matter to time travel and the Big Bang. Featuring their popular infographics, cartoons, and clear and entertaining explanations, this lecture is perfect for anyone who's curious about science and all the big questions we still haven't answered. 

We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe 
Dr. Daniel Whiteson & Jorge Cham (PhD Comics) 
23rd October 2018

Adam will explore how concepts and ideas within both the world of music and physics relate to one another. Rythmes, colours and light have been key for many scientists and artists for creating a flow of creativity and innovative works! Polyrhythms will also be delved into with a unique approach, starting with Alexander Scriabin, the Russian composer who experienced a perceptual connection of colour to sound, and Isaac Newton’s colour theory. 

The colour of music: Newton and the relationship of music, Rhythm and light
Adam Neely 
29th OCTOBER 2018

The search for life has become central to modern astrophysics, whether through new missions which will explore the oceans hidden inside the moons of Jupiter and Saturn or the accelerating race to find and characterize extrasolar planets.

Events as different as the passage through the solar system of interstellar asteroid 'Oumuamua and the discovery of the mysterious WTF Star have raised questions about what we might recognise as alien, but as our knowledge of the Universe grows, it only seems more empty. Astronomer Chris Lintott raised on a diet of science fiction with flashy spaceships draws on his own research and experience to confront the awful truth that we might be alone.

I want to believe: An Astronomer’s view on Aliens 
Professor Chris Lintott FRAS
26th NOVEMBER 2018

 

In the last century, black holes have moved from being a disputed idea at the edge of physics to playing a central role in our understanding of the cosmos. They are also thought laboratories that illuminate theories of the fundamental laws of physics, and researchers are busier than ever trying to make sense of what they mean. I will present the story of black holes: what evidence we have for their existence, how they form, and what they may mean for the future of physics. Remarkably, black holes may play a crucial role in understanding how quantum computers would work. 

From Black Holes to Quantum Computers 
Professor Marika Taylor 
SEMESTER 2
28th January 2019
The maths that can stop an AI apocalypse

The late great Professor Stephen Hawking once said:

"The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race."

He also went on to state that he advocated research into precautionary measures to ensure future super-intelligent machines remain under human control. However, AI apocalypse is not necessarily robots marching down the street, there are a number of examples subtler than this. So what is the risk of AI apocalypse and can we calculate this probability? Furthermore, could we come up with a strategy to minimise this probability. In this talk, we will consider the scenario of AI taking over the world economy and how we can use mathematical modelling to investigate this.

 

Nira will take you through a mathematical model of the complexities of human behaviour that caused the world economic crash. He’ll go on to show how the same model can be used to investigate how to minimise the probability of an artificial intelligence takeover

DR. Nira Chamberlain CMath FIMA CSci
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The maths that can stop an AI apocalypse
DR. Nira Chamberlain CMath FIMA CSci
The maths that can stop an AI apocalypse
DR. Nira Chamberlain CMath FIMA CSci
The maths that can stop an AI apocalypse
DR. Nira Chamberlain CMath FIMA CSci
25th FEBRUARY 2019

This talk follows the life of a scientist who embraced adventure and inspired both comic and science-fiction characters. Auguste Piccard spent much of his career venturing into hostile environments, trusting his life in scientific principles and good engineering. From floating high above the Earth’s surface, to reaching the ocean floor, these scientific journeys were risky and exciting but provided a unique view into both the sky and the sea. Piccard counted Einstein amongst his friends, predicted a new isotope and even had stamps made in his honour. This lecture flies from early manned science balloons to the inventions and experiments of Piccard. I will also share my own adventure of building a scientific space balloon as part of a team entry into the Global Space Balloon Challenge - including why a cereal box makes an ideal radar reflector!

 

Scientific adventures
from inside a sphere
Dr. Caroline Shenton-Taylor 
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25th MARCH 2019

Some physical and mathematical theories have the unfortunate feature that if one takes them at face value, many quantities of interest appear to be infinite! Various techniques, usually going under the common name of “renormalisation” have been developed over the years to address this, allowing mathematicians and physicists to tame these infinities. We will tip our toes into some of the mathematical aspects of these techniques and we will see how they have recently been used to make precise analytical statements about the solutions of some equations whose meaning was not even clear until now. 

Taming Infinities 
Professor Martin Hairer KBE FRS 
2014 Fields Medalist 
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