© Pint of Science, 2021. All rights reserved.
We have always been interested in the very small and the very big. From the nanomaterials that make our life easier to big events such as gravitational lensing and space climate change, trying to comprehend our universe is one of the most powerful aims to keep researching. This year, we focus on those topics to learn more about our surroundings.
Nanomaterials made easy
Matt Staniforth (PhD student in the Pure Mathematics group at the University of Southampton, )
A carbon nanotube is essentially a polyhedron with lots of sides; these polyhedra have been studied by mathematicians for centuries, using an area known as algebraic topology. Amazingly, we can use algebraic topology to investigate these materials.
Gravitational lensing: Cosmic illusions and detecting the invisible
Dr David Chillingworth (Visiting Research Fellow within Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton.)
Einstein showed that gravity bends light rays, so we expect images of far-distant objects to be distorted as light from them passes near intervening galaxies on its way to us. Indeed this can happen, in many cases even creating multiple images of the same object. We look at several such phenomena (real and simulated) and consider some visual mathematics behind them as well as important cosmological applications.
Climate change in space: The impact on space debris
Matthew Brown (Postgraduate research student within Astronautics, Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Southampton.)
Even as high up as the International Space Station, space isn’t a complete vacuum. There is still a very thin atmosphere which sees much greater changes due to carbon dioxide emissions than we see at ground level. With satellites travelling nearly 10 times faster than a bullet, even a thin atmosphere means lots of atmospheric drag, slowly removing orbiting objects from space. But how does the changing climate in space impact how long satellites can remain in space? And what about space debris left over from previous missions? Find out as we tell
Hosted by: John Coxon
John is a space physicist at the University of Southampton and a keen science communicator. He studies the way in which the Sun's magnetic field interconnects with the Earth's, and presented the Southampton Planeterrella at a previous Pint of Science event.