RAS Public Lecture: Photographing the Universe

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Photographing the Universe
Dr Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer, Royal Observatory Greenwich (Venue: Geological Society Lecture Theatre - no booking required) Technology and astronomy have always gone hand in hand, with advances in astronomical instrumentation revealing ever more astonishing views of the cosmos, while new scientific ideas and theories drive the development of ever more powerful tools for testing them. The revolutionary impact of the telescope on astronomy is a familiar story, but few people know how much photography and astronomy have influenced each other over the last two hundred years. From early drawings to the latest high-resolution digital images and from pin-hole cameras to the latest electronic detectors, this talk explores astronomy's long association with photography taking in science, technology, art and history on the way. Dr Marek Kukula is the Public Astronomer, Royal Observatory Greenwich. He initially wanted to be a Time Lord when he grew up but settled on becoming an astronomer as the next most exciting thing. He obtained his PhD in Radio Astronomy at the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory then carried out research into galaxies and black holes at a number of institutions including the University of Edinburgh and the Space Telescope Science Institute, home of the Hubble Space Telescope. As the Public Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich he gives talks, curates exhibitions and liaises with scientists and the media. Marek is a judge on the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition and was the curator of Visions of the Universe, a major exhibition on the history of astrophotography, held at Royal Museums Greenwich in 2013. He works with scientists, historians and artists to explore the cultural as well as the scientific impact of astronomical research, and is the author of The Intimate Universe and the co-author of The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who, both published in 2015.