A Dyson Sphere

How to survive the end of the universe?

- Our Science Week event

First of all: don’t panic!

On a cold August evening in Pinjarra a group of weary galactic travellers assembled into Lesser Hall to hear from the highly accomplished and award winning Radio Astronomer and Astrophysicist, Dr Natasha Hurley- Walker. Originally from the UK, she now calls Perth home, conducting research at ICRAR.

The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) was founded in September 2009 with the specific purpose of supporting Australia’s bid to host the world’s largest radio telescope and one of the largest scientific endeavours in history, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). They are a joint venture between Curtin University (Curtin) and The University of Western Australia (UWA), with funding support from the State Government of Western Australia. ICRAR has research nodes at both universities and is now host to over 100 staff and postgraduate students.

Whilst her work has her looking out into the distant stars Dr Hurley-Walker came to talk about some topics that are both close to home, as well as the exact opposite of that!

Dr Hurley-Walker started to chat initially about her work using radio astronomy and showcased the wonderful images she’s managed to generate and turn into an interactive VR app, as well as in print.

She then went on to discuss some of the bigger topics in the universe such as black holes and the death of stars along with a full synopsis of what we can look forward to over the next few trillion years as all life, when all matter eventually ceases to exist. It’s a humbling thought and quite difficult to grasp – but the good Doctor, made light work of explaining it all in her quirky and inimitable style. Introducing us to the concept of the Dyson sphere; a megastructure that harnesses the energy of a star.

The airbrakes were then pulled, and we switched to look at more pressing issues facing the planet and what is required for us to survive until the next generation. Nastaha talked about our current energy crisis and food security problems with a changing climate and burgeoning global populations. She stressed the need to rethink our global economy and behaviour regards our planet. She placed this in the context of the current carrying capacity of the Earth, giving insightful comments and recommendations to inspire the audience.

The venue was extremely well catered for, with a large selection of healthy, and indulgent snacks. The free, all-ages event was presented by Peel Bright Minds in celebration of National Science Week 2019.

The talk was very well received, and the audience, clearly engaged and entertained. A large number of people stayed on afterwards to ask additional questions and to mingle with other like-minded individuals.

Thanks to Peel Bright Minds for arranging and hosting the event and of course to Dr Hurley-Walker for her time in coming out to talk to us.

Further References: https://www.nhurleywalker.com