Society Lecture: Astronomy through the EAS years – Iain Nicolson

February 3, 2018 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Willingdon Memorial Hall
Church St
Eastbourne BN20 9HT

David Godfrey Lecture 2018

Title: Astronomy through the EAS years – Iain Nicolson


The decades that have elapsed since the formation of the Eastbourne Astronomical Society in 1960 have embraced a golden era for astronomy and space science. Technical advances in ground-based and space-borne telescopes and instrumentation have opened new windows on the Universe across virtually the whole of the electromagnetic spectrum from radio to gamma rays and, most recently, have led to the detection of gravitational waves.

Highlights include: the discovery of objects as diverse as quasars, pulsars, black holes, and gamma-ray bursters, the detection of exoplanets, and major advances in our understanding of the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies. The expansion rate and age of the Universe has been measured with seemingly remarkable precision, and observations have indicated that the Universe is currently expanding at an accelerating rate, driven by a mysterious commodity called dark energy. Closer to home, humans have travelled to the Moon and established space stations in near-Earth orbit, while unmanned spacecraft have revolutionized our knowledge and understanding of the Sun, and the planets, moons and minor bodies that comprise our Solar System.

This talk will attempt to identify and summarise what, arguably, have been the most significant advances and discoveries of the EAS years.

This lecture has been designated as the 2018 David Godfrey Lecture.

Biographical details

Iain Nicholson

Iain Nicolson is a writer and lecturer on astronomy and space science. A consultant to the magazine Astronomy Now, he has been associated with the magazine since its foundation in 1987; from 1996 to 2013, he was chair or co-chair of the annual European AstroFest conference, organized by Astronomy Now. Between 1968 and 2003, was a frequent contributor to BBC Television’s “The Sky at Night”.

Author or co-author of more than twenty books, he has also contributed chapters and entries to a wide variety of books and encyclopaedias, and has written hundreds of articles. His most recent book, Introducing Astronomy – A Guide to the Universe was published by Dunedin Academic Press (Edinburgh, UK) in 2014.

A Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a Member of the International Astronomical Union, he is a past President of the Society for Popular Astronomy. Until 1995,he was Principal Lecturer in Astronomy at the University of Hertfordshire, and in 2011 he was awarded a Fellowship of the University for his contributions to the public understanding of astronomy.