© Pint of Science, 2020. All rights reserved.
To kick off Pint of Science, we take a look at some of the basic building blocks of our Universe - those famous elements of the periodic table. But we still don't know everything about these elements. What happens to elements like oxygen when you expose it to extreme conditions? What can these elements tell us about the rest of the universe? And could they help in our quest to find other life out there in the Universe? Join us at the Canon’s Gait for a night full of intrigue and hopefully some answers to these questions!
Under Pressure: Extreme Science Using the World’s Largest Lasers
Professor Malcolm McMahon (Professor of High Pressure Physics)
Imagine a place where oxygen exists not as a gas, but as a dark solid or a shiny superconducting metal. A place where hydrogen is transformed into an exotic superconducting liquid, or diamonds turned into metal. A place where the conditions found at the centres of planets can be recreated in a device small enough to hold in one hand. In this talk, Professor Malcolm McMahon will discuss the research which requires the most powerful lasers in the world to investigate the properties of materials under extreme conditions.
A field guide to finding fossils on Mars
Dr Sean McMahon (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow)
Was there ever life on Mars? We don’t know yet, but we do know that the martian surface was once warm, watery, and suitable for life (bacteria, at least). This long suspected idea has now been confirmed by NASA’s Curiosity Rover, which analysed rocks formed in ancient martian lakes. At great cost, a new generation of robotic rovers is now being prepared to seek fossil evidence of life on Mars. But where exactly should they look? In this talk, Dr Sean McMahon will discuss how we can apply our knowledge of fossil preservation and the geology of Mars to this multi-billion-dollar question.