In St. John churchyard in the village of Sharow near Ripon there is a tomb standing out - a Pyramid surmounted by a cross. It marks the final resting place of Charles Piazzi Smyth, the 2nd Astronomer Royal for Scotland and “grandfather” of mountaintop astronomy, whose 200 anniversary of birth we are celebrating this year. It is Smyth and his subsequent fellow Astronomers, whose curiosity and scientific rigour led on to pushing the “final frontier” higher and higher into Outer Space, culminating in the Moon landings in 1969.
Exactly 50 years since, a new Space Race seems to be starting off with landing on Mars, a Moon “village” and asteroid mining all thrown into the mix! What should we believe and what is “fake news”? Looking at how science, engineering and society are co-evolving ideas about future Space Exploration and an off-Earth Economy - what are the opportunities for young entrepreneurs and how/should we take them? Building an outer space ecosystem is not trivial – after all, who said it was not rocket science?!
About the speaker
Matjaz Vidmar is a doctoral student in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh and at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Scotland. He is the Chairman and Policy Lead of Gateway Earth Development Group, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Programmes and Special Projects (Europe) at the Astrosociology Research Institute and has co-funded two new research networks, the Scottish Social Dimensions of Outer Space network and the international Social Studies of Outer Space network.
Professionally, Matjaz is a member of the UK Association for Studies in Innovation Science and Technology (AsSIST-UK), a member of European Association for Study of Science and Technology (EASST), a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), a Member of the Institute of Physics (IoP) and a Member of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS), as well as a member of UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Outer Space (UK SEDS).
Matjaz is also a STEM ambassador and science communicator, with events delivered in several countries and in leading science and arts venues and festivals, including at the Edinburgh Fringe.