Twenty-nine bright young minds (sixth form students studying Physics) travelled to Banbridge Academy on Thursday 23rd November for the annual Robinson Lecture, held in honour of the founder of the Armagh planetarium. The guest speaker, Professor Louise Harra, a former student of Banbridge Academy, boldly claimed, "...you can do anything if you study Maths and Physics at school." She studied for her Phd with our very own Dr Woods at Queens and spent time working at the CERN particle accelerator in Geneva and the Space Agency of Japan in Tokyo, before beginning work as a Solar Physicist at University College London.
The lecture was very enjoyable as it related to a lot of the material studied for A level, and of course it was about space, a topic even the youngest child is fascinated by. The talk described how our day to day lives can be disrupted by the Sun’s activity, and how in a few years time we’ll not only be looking at weather forecast, but could also be getting space weather forecasts. We found out that the light produced by our sun takes 170,000 years to leave its surface. We learnt about the phenomena of solar flares which release built up energy on the solar surface. Fortunately, Professor Harra reminded us that we have a space umbrella (the earth's magnetic field) that protects us from most of the effects of these explosions. We also heard about the 'Remove Debris' programme to remove the space junk that has build up since the first spacecraft was launched in 1957. All very interesting stuff that was enjoyed and appreciated by all. A big thank you to Miss Drummond for organising the trip and for the effort made to enable us to learn about real world science being applied in space.