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NAM 2014: Sea, ships and... astronomy

NAM 2014

Sea, ships and...astronomy. The National Astronomy Meeting is an annual astronomy conference hosted by the Royal Astronomical Society and a UK university. NAM 2014 was hosted by The Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) at the University of Portsmouth, and Indy brings us a selection of interviews with scientists who were presenting their work at the conference.

Interview with Dr. Gerhard Schwehm

Dr. Gerhard Schwehm from the European Space Agency (ESA) is the retiring Lead Scientist for the Rosetta mission, an ambitious project to send a spacecraft to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and then land a probe on it. He describes the main points of the mission, the challenges involved and what ESA, and the greater scientific community, hope to gain out of it.

Interview with Prof. Rob Fender

Prof. Rob Fender from Oxford University talks to us about extreme astrophysical events, and particularly those that can be seen in the radio. He tells us how multiwavelength observations of transient events are a very useful tool, and that automated systems are being put into place to be able to follow up Gamma-ray observations of flares with optical and radio observations of the same area in the sky. He also touches on how the next generation of big telescopes will enable us to see more of these poorly understood phenomena than ever before

Interview with Prof. Richard Bower

Prof. Richard Bower from the University of Durham talks to us about a somewhat unusual project at the intersection of medieval history and modern matematical modelling. As part of the Ordered Universe project, Richard and his colleagues have been translating the cosmological ideas of 13th century bishop Robert Grosseteste from dusty latin texts into consistent mathematical models. He describes Grosseteste's vision of the universe, and expands on how his ideas were actually quite matheatically rigorous, and created a universe that was consistent with a set of mathematical rules

Interview with Ali Sulaiman

Ali Sulaiman is doing a PhD at Imperial College London, and studies Saturn's magnetic field using data from the Cassini probe. He describes the bow shock that is the object of his research: a region where the solar wind interacts with Saturn's magnetosphere, creating a shock front of charged particles. He talks about the difference between Saturn and the other planets in the Solar System, and reveals that the length of Saturn's day depends which part of the planet you're on and what time of year it is.

Interview with Prof. Bob Nichol

Professor Bob Nichol chaired the local organising committee of NAM 2014, and talks about his highlights from the conference. He mentions talks on fast radio bursts and the Dark Energy Survey, and describes the atmosphere of optimism accompanying recent increases in funding for UK astronomy. He also discusses the use of social media at the conference to engage delegates and the general public.

Show Credits

Interview:Dr. Gerhard Schwehm and Indy Leclercq
Interview:Prof. Rob Fender and Indy Leclercq
Interview:Prof. Richard Bower and Indy Leclercq
Interview:Ali Sulaiman and Indy Leclercq
Interview:Prof. Bob Nichol and Indy Leclercq
Presenter:Indy Leclercq
Editors:Indy Leclercq and Mark Purver
Segment Voice:Iain McDonald
Website:Indy Leclercq and Stuart Lowe
Producer:Indy Leclercq
Cover art:National Astronomy Meeting group photo in Portsmouth. CREDIT: RAS/NAM 2014 organisers

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