10.00am Saturday 3rd February 2024

Carole Mundell is the recently appointed ESA Director of Science. She joined ESA from the University of Bath where she held the Hiroko Sherwin Chair in Extragalactic Astronomy, was founding Head of Astrophysics, and served as Head of the Department of Physics until becoming the first woman Chief Scientific Adviser at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2018 and first Chief International Science Envoy in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office until 2021. She was elected President of the UK Science Council in 2021. Prof. Mundell began her career at the University of Glasgow where she obtained a BSc Double 1st class Hons. in natural philosophy (physics) and astronomy, followed by a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Manchester. She has published over 170 peer-reviewed papers. Her research interests encompass ground- and space-based research and technology development across the electromagnetic spectrum and new technologies and policies for space sustainability.

Journey from Near-Earth to the Fabric of Spacetime with the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers economic and social benefits to the citizens of Europe, whilst enabling European scientists, engineers and technologists to advance the frontiers of knowledge and technology for the security and resilience of our planet and future generations. The ESA Scientific Programme addresses some of the biggest questions of humanity: the nature and origin of the Universe, the nature of the laws of physics that govern the Universe and our everyday lives, the search for extra-terrestrial life and the conditions for habitability elsewhere than Earth, the origin and fate of our home planet – to name a few. In this talk, Carole Mundell will unpack the programme, frame the big questions it aims to address and show the awe-inspiring capabilities of past, present and future ESA space missions that continue to open new windows on the Universe.

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