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Professor Gerry Gilmore – Mapping the Milky Way in Six Dimensions

Milky Way

Invitation to SCI’s Free Public Evening Lecture:
Professor Gerry Gilmore – Mapping the Milky Way in Six Dimensions

Wednesday 24 October 2018

  • Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains over 200 billion stars and at least 100 billion planets. It began as a ripple soon after the Big Bang, around 13.8 billion years ago
  • Hydrogen (H2) and Helium (He) created in the Big Bang formed stars, which created the various families of chemical elements that are the basis of life today
  • The European Space Agency Gaia mission aims to discover the composition, formation and evolution of the Milky Way

Unravelling the mysteries of the universe has been a dream of astronomers for centuries, but the size of space and the limits of current methods for measuring the position, motion, and distribution of stars has proved extremely challenging. During his Public Evening Lecture, on Wednesday 24 October 2018, Professor Gerry Gilmore will discuss his work with the European Space Agency Gaia Mission, which is mapping one billion stars in six dimensions, and opening a new window on our knowledge of our galaxy.

When you look at an object, such as a star, your brain subconsciously tracks three different spatial directions: distance, longitude, and latitude. When that object moves, you also recognise three speeds – creating a six-dimensions phase space. Unlike previous projects, the Gaia mission will use this principle to plot the most comprehensive map of stars yet. Find out how at Professor Gilmore’s lecture.  

About the speaker

Gerry Gilmore is a Professor of Experimental Philosophy at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, UK, where he specialises in near-field cosmology. Professor Gilmore was raised in New Zealand, where he earned his PhD at the University of Canterbury studying quasars, before moving to the UK to work as a research fellow at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, Scotland from 1979 to 1984. He then moved to the University of Cambridge, where he has remained for most of his career.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, among several other honours and awards, and leads several major projects, including being UK Principal Investigator for the European Space Agency Gaia mission. Prof Gilmore has published some 800 scientific articles, which have been cited 40,000 times throughout his career.

Date for your diary:     Wednesday 24 October 2018
Venue:                          SCI HQ, 15 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PS

Reception opens at 18.00 and the lecture starts at 18.30.

Register for this free event here.


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