Device is incompatible to play the video
Wednesday, 2 October 2019, 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Museum of London

Faster than Light?

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE

The speed of light has fundamental significance. 

This talk will explain how the speed of light was first measured, and how an obscure but brilliant patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland by the name of Albert Einstein deduced that the speed of light is the upper speed limit for everything in the Universe. 

Interesting effects occur when particles are accelerated and achieve speeds close to that of light; these unusual phenomena take place not only in particle accelerators here on Earth but out in space that we can observe using our telescopes. It is even possible for things to be measured as travelling faster than the speed of light and the lecture will explain how that is permissible and understandable in an Einsteinian worldview.

KMB-portrait-BW-370x370.jpg

Katherine was appointed Gresham Professor of Astronomy in 2019. She is a Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford University and a Research Fellow at St John's College. Before this she was one of the Royal Society's University Research Fellows, a Research Fellow of the 1851 Royal Commission, and a Junior Research Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford.

Her research interests include the evolution of active galaxies and their life cycles, the accretion of material near black holes and the launch and propagation of relativistic jets  (jets of plasma emitted by some black holes). In her research she uses electromagnetic imaging and spectroscopy, as well as computational techniques. 

She is also a renowned science communicator and set up a worldwide network of five schools-based Global Jet Watch observatories, which collect data on evolving black hole systems and nova explosions in our Galaxy, helping to inspire the next generation of scientists in South Africa, Chile, Australia and India. 

Her awards include a Philip Leverhulme Prize in Astrophysics, the Royal Society's Rosalind Franklin Medal in 2010, the Institute of Physics Bragg Medal in 2012, the Royal Astronomical Society's Darwin Lectureship in 2015 and an OBE for services to astronomy and the education of young people in 2017.

Blundell's first lecture series for Gresham College is called Cosmic Concepts, starting 2 October 2019, and she will be looking at how concepts developed in physics and cosmology have led to some of our most surprising discoveries about the Universe. 

Professor Blundell's lecture series are as follows:

2020/21 Cosmic Vision

2019/20 Cosmic Concepts

All lectures by the Gresham Professors of Astronomy can be accessed here.

Read More
Read Less
Related Future Lectures
Related Past Lectures
WATCHED
Part of a series

Space Sounds: The Music of the Cosmos

Professor Roberto Trotta
Monday, 26 April 2021 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

A Just and Rights-Based Framework for Nature

Professor Jacqueline McGlade
Tuesday, 27 April 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED

Artificial Intelligence and Humour

Professor Yorick Wilks
Tuesday, 11 May 2021 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Investing in Nature

Professor Jacqueline McGlade
Tuesday, 18 May 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Cosmic Vision: Space-Quakes

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 19 May 2021 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Future of Computer Security

Professor Richard Harvey
Tuesday, 25 May 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Networks: The Internet and Beyond

Professor Richard Harvey
Tuesday, 20 April 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Cyber War Crimes

Tarah Wheeler
Tuesday, 30 March 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Darwin‘s Troubled Legacy

Professor Jim Endersby
Monday, 22 March 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Computers: A History

Professor Richard Harvey
Tuesday, 9 March 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Cosmic Vision: Fast & Furious

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 3 March 2021 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Putting Wellbeing and Prosperity First

Professor Jacqueline McGlade
Tuesday, 2 March 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Cosmic Vision: Space-Quakes

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 19 May 2021 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Cosmic Vision: Fast & Furious

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 3 March 2021 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Cosmic Vision: Unravelling Rainbows

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 3 February 2021 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Cosmic Vision: Witnessing Fireworks

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 18 November 2020 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Cosmic Vision: Attentive Eyes

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 28 October 2020 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Cosmic Vision: Watching the Radio

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 7 October 2020 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Perceptions, Expectations, and Discoveries

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 20 May 2020 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Simple Laws, Spectacular Astrophysics

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 4 March 2020 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Shapes of Free Fall

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 29 January 2020 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The End of Matter?

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 20 November 2019 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Frozen in Time?

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE
Wednesday, 23 October 2019 - 1:00PM