Upcoming Events

The Jeremiah Horrocks Lecture, Spring 2021

Dr Mark Norris

University of Central Lancashire

Date And Time

Thu, April 22, 2021

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM BST

Online event

Please register for your free tickets via Eventbrite or email: Tel: 01772 893310


In recent years it has become possible to study millions or even billions of individual stars within our Milky Way galaxy, and hence to determine how it formed in exquisite detail.But our Universe contains hundreds of billions of other galaxies, all but a handful of which are far too distant to individually examine their stars. Is it possible for us to learn how they formed or acquired their stars with similar detail?In this talk I will describe how the combination of computer simulations, large surveys using state-of-the-art spectrographs, and a few bright ideas are allowing us to pick apart the light of galaxies to work out how and when their stars were formed. In the process we are uncovering the ghosts of the dozens or hundreds of former galaxies that were destroyed to produce the surviving galaxies we see today.


Dr Mark Norris graduated from Durham University with a MSci in Physics in 2004, followed by a PhD in Astrophysics in 2008. Between 2008 and 2015 he conducted research into the formation of galaxies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg Germany as a postdoctoral scholar. In 2015 Mark joined UCLan as a Lecturer in Astronomy, teaching undergraduate on-campus and distance learning course related to Astronomy. He is responsible for the running of UCLan’s Alston Observatory.

Past Events

The Jeremiah Horrocks Lecture, Autumn 2020

Dr Dimitris Stamatellos

University of Central Lancashire

Wed, 16 September 2020, 18:30 – 20:00 BST (Online Event)

Please register for your free tickets via Eventbrite using the link below. 


Email: Tel: 01772 893310


The question about the origin of planets and life has fascinated humankind since ancient times. Until two decades ago we just knew the planets in our Solar System. Since then thousands of planets have been discovered around other stars. To our surprise these “exoplanets” have properties that are very different from those of the planets of our Solar System, thus challenging our understanding of how planets form. Recent observations suggest that planets and planetary systems may form much faster than it has been previously thought. I will discuss the methods for discovering exoplanets and present radiative hydrodynamic computational models of the process of planet formation in protostellar discs around young stars.


Dr Stamatellos received his BSc in Physics from the University of Athens, Greece, his MSc in Space Physics and Astronomy from Rice University, USA, and in 2004 he was awarded a PhD degree in Astrophysics from Cardiff University, UK. He worked at Cardiff University as a Research Associate until 2013. Since then he is at the University of Central Lancashire, UK, initially as a Guild Research Fellow, and since 2018 as a Reader. He was also a Visiting Fellow at the Theoretical Astronomy and Astrophysics Laboratory, Nagoya University (2014-2016). His work is mainly theoretical and computational, focusing on the study of the earliest stages of star and planet formation. He has published more than 50 refereed articles and is well known for his research on planet formation by gravitational instability. Dr Stamatellos has established collaborations with East Asia countries (China, Japan, S. Korea) and he has been working on the development of Astronomy in Vietnam.

Cosmic Africa

Professor Thebe Medupe

Friday 24th January 2020
Harrington Lecture Theatre
University of Central Lancashire

In a journey that has stretched from the coastline of Namibia to the steamy jungles of Ghana, across crocodile infested lakes and the deserts of Northern Kenya, the cliff-side dwellings of the Dogon in Mali and onto the mysterious archaeological sites of the Egyptian Sahara, this lecture explores Africa’s ancient astronomical history. By shedding new light on traditional African astronomy, and in turn global understanding of the world’s oldest science, acclaimed African astronomer, Dr Thebe Medupe of the South African Astronomical Observatory, will look at celestial beliefs from different parts of the African continent and how some of these ancient African perceptions link with current scientific knowledge.


Professor Thebe Medupe grew up in a poor South African village near Mafikeng, about four hours north-west of Johannesburg. He went on to gain a doctorate in astrophysics at the University of Cape Town, and was presenter and associate producer of “Cosmic Africa”, a feature documentary about traditional African astronomy released in 2002. He is a researcher at the South African Astronomical Observatory, where he is participating in a programme to encourage black South Africans to take up astronomy. He is writing a book, in the Setswana language, on ethno-astronomy”.

To book tickets please go here.
Tel: 01772 893310


The Jeremiah Horrocks Autumn Lecture  2019

String Theory and Mathematical Beauty in Theoretical Physics

Professor Andreas Braun

Department of Mathematics, Durham University, UK

Tuesday 8th  October 2019, 18:30-20:00

Harrington Building, Harrington Lecture Theatre

University of Central Lancashire

View Map

Please register for your free tickets via Eventbrite using the link below.


Email: Tel: 01772 893310


Simplicity, elegance and beauty have long played an important role in the development of theoretical physics. Such considerations have not only deepened our understanding, but have in many instances led to concrete predictions which were verified by experiments. A central theme is the unification of the laws of fundamental physics, a program which has culminated in String Theory in recent years. After an historical overview enriched by examples, I will discuss the motivations for String Theory, its status, and its role in modern theoretical physics.


Andreas Braun is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mathematics, Durham University. Prior to moving to Durham, he has held research positions in Vienna, Tokyo, London and Oxford. His research is concerned with geometrical aspects of theoretical physics, in particular string theory, and crosses the boundaries between theoretical physics and ma

The Jeremiah Horrocks Lecture -May 2019

How to take a picture of a black hole

Professor Derek Ward-Thompson Jeremiah Horrocks , UCLan

Wednesday 8th May 2019 7.00pm

Darwin Lecture Theatre University of Central Lancashire

Refreshments available from 6pm in Darwin Foyer

A black hole is an extreme region of space that contains so much matter in such a small region that it curves the very essence of space itself. The speed needed to escape from a black hole is greater than the speed of light, so once something has fallen into a black hole it can never get out, because nothing travels faster than light.

This talk will describe how, for the first time ever, we took an actual picture of a black hole – something that was thought to be in the realms of science fiction only a few years ago. This is because a black hole doesn’t emit any light or reflect any light.

But now the event horizon around a black hole has been imaged – the last place from which light can escape. This was made possible by connecting together 8 different telescopes across the earth to make the equivalent of one single earth-sized telescope. It is so powerful that it could resolve an object only a few centimetres across on the surface of the Moon.

The black hole imaged is the size of our entire solar system – except that it is 55 million light years away. One of the 8 telescopes is the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, which is part-owned by the University of Central Lancashire, and Professor Derek Ward-Thompson has worked on the imaging team to make the picture.

To book tickets please go to:


Email: Tel: 01772 893310


The Jeremiah Horrocks Lecture (April)

The 50th anniversary of  Moon landing  celebration

Speaker: Dr Kevin Bowman Jeremiah Horrocks , UCLan

Thursday 11th April 2019 7.00pm

Darwin Lecture Theatre

University of Central Lancashire. The Showcase starts at 5.30pm in Foster Building, Foster Social Space

Event poster: Moon Landing Poster


On July 20th 1969, one of the greatest feats ever achieved by the human race was accomplished, as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon. By doing so they became the first humans to walk on a celestial body other than planet Earth.

To mark the 50th Anniversary of this incredible event, the JHI is showcasing a celebratory evening in which you are invited to experience (or relive for those old enough to remember) the sights and times of those days as well as other things “moon related”.

At the centre of the evening is the show “Rocket to the Moon”, in which Dr Kevin Bowman explains what it was like to live through those exciting times. As the race to the moon is brought to life, you will meet the mighty Saturn V rocket, as you become an Apollo astronaut and embark on your own epic voyage to land on the moon. See the experience unfold before you on a giant two storey screen and full surround sound.

Both before and after “Rocket to the Moon” you can visit The Showcase area where light refreshments will be served and a host of displays and activities will be on show. During this time there is the opportunity to do the following:

• Observe the Moon (weather permitting) using telescopes, with expert guidance at hand.

• See a huge 1/24 scale Apollo-Saturn V model which is over 5 metres tall when stacked. It is made entirely from paper, making it the largest paper model of the Apollo-Saturn V in the world.

• Try a computer simulation landing on the moon using the same method as used on the Apollo missions.

• Take the Brooke Bond PG Tips Race Into Space Challenge, a light hearted picture quiz based around the PG Tips Tea picture cards.

To book tickets please go to:

Event tickets


Email: Tel: 01772 893310

The Jeremiah Horrocks Lecture (March)

Our place in the Universe

Speaker: Professor John D. Barrow FRS, Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University and Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project

Tuesday 5th March 2019 7.00pm

Darwin Lecture Theatre University of Central Lancashire

Lecture poster: JHI Lecture March 2019


We will explain the concept of the expanding universe – what exactly is expanding? – and the modern evidence for it. This will reveal a number of unexpected connections between the size and age of the universe and the conditions needed for life to exist and persist within it. We will meet the idea that an inflationary surge in expansion rate of the universe occurred in the distant past and see the powerful evidence that this happened. This will provoke us to take seriously the idea that we are part of a multiverse of universes, each with different properties, and that our observable universe might have a beginning whilst the multiverse does not. Finally, we will see what the observed acceleration of our universe’s expansion today signals about its far future. It may well be that astronomers in the far future will not be able to study the universe by direct observation like we do today.


John D. Barrow FRS is Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University and Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project, a programme to improve the appreciation of mathematics amongst young people and the general public. He is a Fellow, and former vice-president, of Clare Hall, Cambridge. His research interests are in cosmology, astrophysics and gravitation. He has received many awards, including the 2006 Templeton Prize, the Royal Society’s 2008 Faraday Prize, the 2012 Zeeman Medal of the London Mathematical Society, the 2009 Kelvin Medal and the 2015 Dirac Gold Medal of the Institute of Physics, and the 2016 Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Academia Europaea. He has written more than 540 scientific papers, and 22 books translated into 28 languages; including recently, The Book of Universes. His play, Infinities, won the Premi Ubu for best play in the Italian theatre in 2002 and the 2003 Italgas Prize. He was Gresham Professor of Astronomy from 2003-7, and Professor of Geometry, 2008-11. John Barrow also has the curious distinction of having delivered lectures on cosmology at the Venice Film Festival, 10 Downing Street, Windsor Castle and the Vatican Palace.

To book tickets please go to: Event tickets

or email:

Tel: 01772 893310

Jeremiah Horrocks Winter Lecture 2018 – Blackholes and spin offs

Date: November 26th, 2018

Location: Darwin Lecture Theatre, UCLAN

Title: Black holes and spin offs

Speaker:  Katherine Blundell , Professor of Astrophysics, University of Oxford

Abstract: The popular notion of a black hole “sucking in everything” from its surroundings only happens very close to a black hole. Far away, the pull of the black hole is identical to that of anything else of the same mass. However, black holes do give rise to many remarkable phenomena such as extragalactic quasars and, in our own Galaxy, microquasars. This is because gravity is not the only law of physics that must be obeyed. Matter can be spun off from near black holes in the form of winds and jets that spread through their surroundings and thus cause black holes to have tremendous cosmic influence many light years beyond their event horizons. I will describe various approaches that I employ to investigate these phenomena, and their spin-offs.


Katherine Blundell is a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and a Research Fellow at St John’s College.
To book tickets please go to:


Email: Tel: 01772 893310

Discover the wonders of space with this series of public lectures on astronomy to celebrate UCLAN’s 190th Anniversary.

Exoplanets: Exploring the diversity of worlds in our Galaxy

Monday 1 October 6:30pm-8pm

Speaker: Professor Richard Nelson – Queen Mary University of London

Professor Richard Nelson will describe the methods used by astronomers to discover exoplanets, what we know about the exoplanet population and how our ideas about planetary system formation have evolved in recent years.

Book tickets here

Is the Milky Way special?

Tuesday 2 October 6:30pm-8pm

Speaker: Chris Lintott – Professor of Astrophysics, University of Oxford. Presenter, BBC Sky at Night

In this talk, Chris Lintott will draw on cutting-edge research and results from his own Galaxy Zoo project to compare the Milky Way to the other galaxies which surround us, and ask whether we’re living in a special time in its history.

Book tickets here

Everything from nothing: how our universe was made

Wednesday  3 October 6:30pm-8pm

Speaker: Professor Carlos Frenk – CBE FRS, Durham University

Cosmology confronts some of the most fundamental questions in science. How and when did our universe begin? What is it made of? How did galaxies and other structures form? There has been enormous progress in the past few decades towards answering these questions.

Book tickets here


The Antikythera Mechanism: The oldest computer

Thursday 4 October 6.30pm-8pm

Speaker: Professor Xenophon Moussas – University of Athens

In the talk, it will be discussed how humans conceived such a mechanism and how they managed to construct a mechanical cosmos based on causality, the notion of laws of physics, and modelling.

Book tickets here


From Pendle Hill to the Stars: Four centuries of Lancashire astronomical history from Jeremiah Horrocks to UCLan

Friday 5 October 6.30pm-8pm

Speaker: Dr Allan Chapman – University of Oxford

Lancashire has an extremely rich and distinguished astronomical history, from men who first advanced the work of Kepler and Galileo to cutting-edge modern astrophysics. Astronomical societies of international importance have flourished in the county since 1881, including that of Preston, which not only advanced original observational work but also pioneered astronomical public education and outreach.

Book tickets here

For more information please contact Nuala Jones on email / Tel: 01772 893310

Lancashire Science Festival – June 2018

More details here:

Institute of Physics (IOP) Lecture

Solar energy, past present and future
Dr Jon Major (Liverpool)

Date: 16th  May 2018,  18:00 – 19:30

Location: Foster Building Lecture Theatre 2, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 2HE
Solar energy based on a silicon solar cell was first pioneered in the 1950’s. In the intervening decades the technology has evolved into numerous types of different solar cells based on a myriad of different materials. Despite this Silicon solar cells still represent around 95% of worldwide solar modules sold despite key inherent limitations. This talk will look at the key considerations for the design of photovoltaic panels, what are the current alternatives to Silicon, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the various technologies, what will the future hold for solar energy and can it ever truly compete with fossil fuels.

Talk begins at 6:30pm, refreshments from 6:00pm.

Organised by: IOP Lancashire and Cumbria Branch
Contact details: Dr Christopher Bowdery:


The Jeremiah Horrocks Spring Lecture

Comets, Asteroids and Impacts. Should we worry and what can we do?

Dr Robin Catchopole (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge)

Date: Tuesday 15th May 2018 – 6:30 pm

Location: Darwin Lecture Theatre, University of Central Lancashire

For more information and to book please see:


IOP lancashire lectures

Wednesday 17th January 2018 (6:30pm-FBLT2)

The European Extremely Large Telescope

Prof Isobel Hook (Lancaster)

The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is a future ground-based optical and infrared telescope, which is being designed and built by the European Southern Observatory. With a primary mirror diameter of 39m, it will be the largest optical-infrared telescope in the world when it enters operation in the middle of the next decade. Construction work is underway at the telescope site in Chile. In this talk, I will discuss some highlights from the science case for the ELT, which ranges from studies of exo-planets to the most distant galaxies and cosmology. I will also describe the telescope design and plans for the instrumentation suite. Finally, I will discuss the current status of the project.

Talk begins at 6:30pm, refreshments from 6:00pm. More info here.