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Vastness of Space family event taking place in Kildare

The TSI Building Maynooth University will host an all-ages event next month to explore the vastness of space and humanity’s place in it.

Organized by the Departments of Theoretical and Experimental Physics at Maynooth University, the public will have the chance to hear from world leaders in astrophysical research.

The event, which takes place in Maynooth University’s new 300-seat lecture hall in the TSI building, is suitable for all ages.

Speaking about the event, organizer Dr John Regan said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to come and visit the University and learn more about our work in astrophysics, meet scientists and ask questions about the universe.

He added: “We really want to inspire the next generation with the work we do, so we encourage families to come and join us for what will be a truly inspiring event.”

The event will include short visual presentations by Drs Emma Whelan and John Regan, who are on the hunt for exoplanets and black holes respectively.

Dr. Creidhe O’Sullivan and Professor Peter Coles will show the audience how scientists imagine cosmic background radiation at the edge of our universe and how physicists are pushing the boundaries of our current theories about the evolution of our universe.

Audiences will have the opportunity to meet physics students and ask questions about everything from dark matter and dark energy to the search for life on other planets.

First come, first served and only ticket holders will be admitted.

Interested persons can register here.

Space Week at Maynooth University is supported by Science Foundation Ireland and the Royal Society.


6:30 p.m. Welcome

6:35 p.m.: Emma Whelan: “Planet hunting: how Maynooth University astronomers are searching for new worlds”

Since this month, more than 5,000 exoplanets or new worlds have been discovered orbiting distant stars millions of light years from us. Emma will explore the hunt for exoplanets – planets outside our own solar system – and what scientists can learn about them. Emma will take you behind the scenes into the techniques astronomers use to find new planets and the new insights astronomers hope to bring through the James Webb Space Telescope.

6:55 p.m.: John Regan: “Black holes in our universe”

Black holes are among the most exotic objects in our universe. In this talk, John will discuss the basics of how black holes form, how we can detect them today, and the future of black hole hunting using gravitational wave observatories. Maynooth University is part of it. John will also discuss some of the weird effects you might encounter near a black hole – like time slowing down!

7:15 p.m.: Tea & Coffee Break

7:45 p.m.: Creidhe O’Sullivan: “Observations of the primordial Universe”

Creidhe will take us back to the origins of our universe. In her talk, she will show you how scientists observe the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) – a specific type of radiation left over from the Big Bang – and what it can tell us about the early Universe and its formation. Creidhe will also take us close to home and talk about the experiments Maynooth University is involved in to observe the CMB.

20.05: Peter Coles: “The evolution of our universe”

Peter will discuss how our Universe evolves over cosmic time, from the Big Bang to the Universe we see around us today and the role of dark energy and dark matter in this process. Peter will also talk about upcoming missions he is involved in that hope to measure dark energy – the unknown force that separates our universe.

8:30 p.m.: Arrival