A Journey into Outer Space

Dates: March 16, 2011
Location: London, United Kingdom

A Journey into Outer Space

Intelligence² | Are we alone in the universe? How will we ever find out?

How did the universe begin?

Will we ever find the mysterious “God particle”? What would it mean if we did?

How soon will we all become space tourists?

These are some of the big questions surrounding man’s existence….and Intelligence² are bringing together some of the world’s leading scientists, astronomers and space pioneers to attempt to answer them.

Particle physicist and BBC presenter Brian Cox will talk about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, and specifically about what the world’s largest scientific experiment might tell us about some of the great questions in cosmology. What is dark matter? Why is gravity so weak? What happens in the heart of neutron stars?

Charles Simonyi, the former Microsoft technology architect and space tourist, will tell us what it’s like to be aboard the International Space Station, focusing in particular on weightlessness: What does it mean? What would Newton have said about it? And how does it actually feel? He’ll illustrate his talk with images from Newton’s books and video taken aboard the space station.

Royal astronomer Martin Rees will outline how a mysterious ‘big bang’ gave rise to atoms, galaxies, stars, planets — and at least one biosphere. Having introduced us to the exciting discoveries that suggest there are billions of planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy, and that there are billions of other galaxies, he will speculate on whether our ‘big bang’ is just one of many, on the probabilities of life on other planets, and on the long-range future for life, here on earth and far beyond.

Biographer Richard Holmes will lead us back in time for an historical overview of space — from Ptolemy to Galileo to Herschel. How did astronomers of the past understand the cosmos? What impact did they have on poets and writers such as Shakespeare and Keats?

And planetary scientist Colin Pillinger will talk about space exploration past, present and future using manned and robotic spacecraft. As the man who led the Beagle 2 project to send a spacecraft to look for evidence of life on Mars, he will be asking the big question: Is there life elsewhere in the universe?

The event will be chaired by Rick Stroud, film-maker and author of The Book of the Moon.