The Liverpool Telescope: A Giant Robotic Eye on the Universe

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An RAS Public Lecture: The Liverpool Telescope: A Giant Robotic Eye on the UniverseProfessor Mike Bode (Liverpool John Moores University)(Geological Society Lecture Theatre) 'Time Domain Astrophysics' is a rapidly developing and increasingly important branch of science. It encompasses everything from the observation of titanic stellar explosions to the discovery of new worlds around distant stars. It was to explore this new domain that the Liverpool Telescope (LT) was born as one of a new generation of large robots. In this lecture, we will discover why a robotic telescope such as the LT has many advantages over conventional instruments for exploring the time domain. We will then go on to describe the trials and tribulations experienced in bringing this dream to reality. Above all however, we will encounter the frontier science that the LT has been successfully delivering for the last decade, look forward to ambitious projects for the next, and in addition reveal how the LT has enabled thousands of school students across the UK to become directly involved in the excitement of scientific discovery. Mike Bode is Professor of Astrophysics and Director of the Astrophysics Research Institute at Liverpool John Moores University. His research concentrates on understanding the explosions of novae and he has held both Advanced and Senior Fellowships of the UK Research Councils. Over the years, he has served on many Research Council committees and he led the development of Europe's first long-term plan for the development of astronomy, published in 2008. A former Vice President and Secretary of the RAS, Mike is also very active in public engagement. He was a founder of the National Schools' Observatory (as well as the Liverpool Telescope project as a whole) and has appeared many times on BBC's 'The Sky at Night' and other TV and radio programmes.