2012 Robinson Lecture


Click on image for very large version.

The Eleventh biennial Robinson Lecture will be given on the evening of Thursday 22nd November 2012 by Professor David Southwood, Imperial College London. Professor Southwood has recently retired from the position of Director of Science and Robotic Exploration at the European Space Agency (ESA) and is now President of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Professor Southwood started working at ESA in 1997 as Head of the Earth Observation strategy where he introduced the Living Planet programme. In 1999 he was appointed Regents Professor at the University of California Los Angeles, later moving to Imperial College London. In 2001 Professor Southwood returned to ESA as Head of the Science Programme and in 2008 was appointed Director of Science and Robotic Exploration. On his retirement from ESA he returned to scientific research at Imperial College London. He has chaired a number of committees on space science in Europe, including the ESA Space Science Advisory Committee and the ESA Science Programme Committee and currently serves on advisory/supervisory boards as varied as the Institute of Space Policy and Law, the National Space Centre, the UK Space Agency, the National Centre for Earth Observation and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

David Southwood has published over 200 scientific papers and other articles. He headed the team that built the magnetometer onboard the NASA/ESA Cassini-Saturn orbiter currently orbiting the gas giant planet, Saturn.

The title and abstract of Professor David Southwood’s lecture are:

“To Mars, Titan and the Universe Beyond! Europe’s Arrival on the Space Frontier”

"The lecture will review how in the first decade of the 21st century the European Space Agency became an increasingly obvious presence in space science. ESA spacecraft were sent to the Moon, Venus, Mars, and a probe put down on Titan.  In a couple of years a European lander will land on a comet nucleus.  Beyond that comes a mission to Mercury.  At the same time, European missions like Herschel and Planck, looking at the evolution of the Universe from Big Bang through formation of galaxies, stars and planets, have taken a dominant position in current space astronomy. Some of the successes will be described from a personal point of view as well as some of the frustrations.  Moreover, the wider case will be made for why space science and exploration is important for a modern society."

Attendance at the Robinson Lecture is free, but if you would like to attend the Robinson Lecture, please contact the Armagh Observatory in order to obtain tickets. Please write, telephone or send an e-mail to: Mrs Aileen McKee, Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG; Tel: 028-3752-2928; Fax: 028-3752-7174; e-mail: ambnat signarm.ac.uk.

2012 Robinson Schools Lecture


Click on image for a much larger version.

In addition Professor Southwood is delivering the Robinson Schools Lecture in the Royal School, College Hill, Armagh, at 2.00 pm on Wednesday 21st November 2012.

The title and abstract of the Robinson Schools lecture are:

“What is Space Exploration About?”

"The lecture will explain how one gets into space, the benefits and advantages of space exploration and doing astronomy from above the Earth's atmosphere, and of the robotic exploration of planets and other bodies in the solar system."

Teachers and pupils who would like to attend should contact Mr Warren Fowles, The Royal School, College Hill Armagh. Tel.: 028 3752 2807; e-mail: sfowles830at signroyalschool.armagh.ni.sch.uk, and plan to arrive by 1.30 pm.

The Armagh Observatory Robinson Lecture is a public lecture held biennially in honour of the Founder of the Armagh Observatory, Archbishop Richard Robinson (1708-1794).

Last Revised: 2012 October 9th