Public Lectures by Lord Martin Rees
Under the Lee Kuan Yew Distinguished Visitors Programme, Lord Martin Rees will be speaking at two public lectures. Admission is free; however, registration is required at http://www.lkydvp.sg/. Details are as follows:
Our Universe and the Role of Life in It
Date: 24 August 2009 (Monday)
Time: 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Venue: Shaw Foundation Alumni House, Auditorium, Level 2, 11 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119244, National University of Singapore
Synopsis: Our concept of the cosmos has expanded hugely in recent decades. We now have strong evidence that everything began nearly 14 billion years ago in a mysterious ‘big bang’. As our cosmos expanded and cooled, atoms, stars, and galaxies formed. And on at least one planet (our Earth) life began, and Darwinian evolution led to the eventual emergence of creatures able to ponder their origins. This progress brings into focus a new set of questions: Is the cosmos even vaster than the region our telescopes can probe? Is there life beyond the Earth? What is the long-term future of the cosmos? And can we understand, at a deeper level, the physical laws that govern it?
The World in 2050
Date: 27 August 2009 (Thursday)
Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 2A, North Academic Complex, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798, Nanyang Technological University
Synopsis: This century is the first in the Earth’s history when one species, ours, has the Earth’s future in its hands. In 2050, the world’s population may well have reached 9 billion. Unless we make wise choices about the direction of economic development and energy use, our collective impact on the planet’s resources, environment and climate could cause irreversible damage. Advanced technology will open up huge new opportunities, but it will open up new risks. We will all be living in an ever more interconnected world, increasingly vulnerable to breakdowns. Individuals, empowered by powerful technology and choosing to misuse it, will pose ever-greater threats. And the advance of science will pose ever more ethical challenges: there will be a widening gap between what we are capable of doing and what it is prudent or ethical actually to do. The lecture, raising questions rather than offering answers, will address some of these issues.
About the speaker
Martin Rees is Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics and Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. He holds the honorary title of Astronomer Photo credited to Lucinda Douglas-Menzies Royal and also Visiting Professor at Imperial College London and at Leicester University. In 2005, he was appointed to the House of Lords and elected President of the Royal Society. He held post-doctoral positions in the UK and the USA, before becoming a professor at Sussex University. In 1973, he became Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at Cambridge and served for ten years as director of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy. From 1992 to 2003, he was a Royal Society Research Professor. He is a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy, and several other foreign academies. His awards include the Balzan International Prize, the Bower Award for Science of the Franklin Institute, the Cosmology Prize of the Peter Gruber Foundation, the Einstein Award of the World Cultural Council and the Crafoord Prize (Royal Swedish Academy). He has been president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1994-95) and the Royal Astronomical Society (1992-94) and a trustee of the British Museum, NESTA and the Kennedy Memorial Trust. He is currently on the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of Science and Industry, the Institute for Public Policy Research, and the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, and has served on many bodies connected with education, space research, arms control and international collaboration in science. He is the author or co-author of more than 500 research papers, mainly on astrophysics and cosmology, as well as seven books (five for general readership), and numerous magazine and newspaper articles on scientific and general subjects. He has broadcast and lectured widely and held various visiting professorships.