Event of the Week
Confronting the Goldilocks enigma: why is the Universe so uncannily fit for life?, Imperial College tomorrow
As topics go, they don't really come much bigger than this:
The latest advances in cosmology have allowed scientists to piece together the story of our universe in unprecedented detail. One of the striking features to emerge is how the universe is exquisitely bio-friendly. Even slight changes in the laws of physics or the cosmogical arrangement would prove lethal. Scientists are sharply split, however, on the explanation for this 'cosmic fine tuning.' Is it just a lucky fluke? Or does it suggest the existence of a multiplicity of differing universes co-existing in parallel? Divine providence? Or something else entirely?
Incredibly prolific author Paul Davies heads up a panel of cosmologists, including an ordained scientist, to discuss these weighty matters. So weighty, in fact, that Davies even popped up on Newsnight a couple of days ago.
Let's pick up that theme of 'fine tuning', by mentioning an event at the Dana Centre tonight. 'Superstrings' sees the unlikely pairing of the head of particle physics at Oxford with a virtuoso violinist. Only at the Dana will you see the big concepts of subatomic research communicated with a solo string accompaniment. If you return on Thursday, you can taste physics rather than listen to it, during a Dinner@Dana meal.
If that's too much physics for you to palate, try a little ecology, at Barnard's Inn Hall on Monday for a Gresham lecture about the cleanliness of the River Thames.
Finally, there's another set of talks over at the Natural History Museum. Jonathan Mullard bigs up the unique wildlife habitats of the Gower area, near Swansea (this one's members only). On Friday, NHM staff explain how DNA can be used to work out evolutionary relationships between species. Then: things to make you go yuck, with giant squid on Saturday (also Tuesday) and edible insects on Sunday. To round off on Monday, there's a celebration of the rich, '500 year old' history of botany. Phew!
When and where
Superstrings, tonight, 7pm, Dana Centre, FREE
Dinner@Dana, Thursday, 6.30, Dana Centre, £13
Confronting the Goldilocks enigma, Thursday, 6pm, Great Hall, Imperial College, FREE
In dialogue with... Jonathan Mullard, Thursday, 7pm, NHM, FREE
DNA: unravelling the family tree, Friday, 2.30, NHM, FREE
Wonders of the collection: gant squid, Saturday, 12, 2.30 , NHM, FREE
Edible insects, Sunday, 12, 2.30, NHM, FREE
London's Ecology - How clean is the Thames?, Monday, 1pm, Bernard's Inn Hall, FREE
Blooming marvellous: 500 years of botany, Monday, 2.30, NHM, FREE
Image of Titan's surface created in Bryce by Didok. (Not sure how relevant it is, but we like it.)