Webinars

COSMIC RELIEF

Live Webinars with Fred Watson

All webinars are free and start at 7.30 pm AEST and are free to live audiences only.

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Astronomy in Times of Crisis

In an international emergency like the present one, you might expect the science of the stars to be the last thing on people’s minds. The problems facing both individuals and governments are infinitely more pressing than events in the depths of space. Yet throughout history, astronomy has shown extraordinary resilience in times of crisis, maintaining public support as a key activity. Today, that resilience is more important than ever, with new giant telescopes on the brink of construction. In this talk, Fred Watson investigates astronomy’s survival through troubled times.

The Unsung Trailblazers of Astronomy

The annals of astronomy are littered with the household names that have shaped our understanding of the Universe – Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Herschel, Einstein, Hubble, Hoyle and so on. But many of these scientists relied for their breakthroughs on the work of unsung trailblazers. Newton himself, writing in 1676, said that he had seen further by ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’. The fact that one of these giants was a rival whom Newton did his best to discredit seems absurd to us today. Yet Robert Hooke laid the foundations of Newton’s understanding of gravity – and became the unsung hero of the story. In this entertaining and fully-illustrated talk, astronomer Fred Watson selects just a few of astronomy’s unsung trailblazers for some overdue recognition.

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