05/2022: Space Cleanup (Z Tenacci)

Space junk – developing the technology to avoid and remove debris from low Earth orbit (LEO)

Thursday 19th May 2022 from 19:00 for 19:30
Abingdon United Football Club (Northcourt Rd, OX14 1PL, Abingdon)

Space is getting congested – tens of thousands more satellites are expected to launch into low Earth orbit within the next decade. With this exponential growth in telecommunications comes a concern for potentially devastating collisions between operational and defunct satellites. Zoé Tenacci, Systems Engineer at Astroscale will present a background on the only company dedicated to in-orbit servicing across all orbits. Zoé will present some of Astroscale’s major programmes, including their ELSA-d mission to demonstrate debris removal, their ELSA-M mission designed to remove multiple pieces of debris from a single mission, and their CREAM programme – a study into collision avoidance capability, funded by the European Space Agency. Zoe will delve into theCREAM programme which is designed to generate technologies for automated systems that can determine the likelihood of orbital collisions with greater accuracy, reduce the number of false alerts by allowing reduced time between manoeuvre decisions and close approaches, and finally to optimise manoeuvre plans that are uploaded to satellites. Zoé will share some of the technology behind the missions and highlight some of Astroscale’s latest innovations, including capture technology and collision avoidance systems.

Founded in 2013 in Singapore, then Japan, the U.K, U.S.A and Israel, Astroscale is developing pioneering and scalable solutions across the spectrum of in-orbit servicing in low Earth and Geostationary (GEO) orbits. The company is developing life extension services to refuel or manoeuvre larger satellites in GEO; end of life services to remove defunct satellites in LEO, active debris removal of larger items such as upper stage rockets, and in situ space situational awareness research, designed to characterise activities in space and the space environment. Each Astroscale programme is designed to create sustainable systems and mitigate the growing and hazardous build-up of debris in space. Astroscale is also defining business cases and working with government and commercial stakeholders to develop norms, regulations, and incentives for the responsible use of space.

Speaker: Zoé Tenacci, Systems Engineer at Astroscale

Zoé Tenacci is Systems Engineer at Astroscale Ltd in the UK, based at Harwell Campus. Zoé studied Aerospace Engineering at IPSA in France and Astronautics and Space Engineering at Cranfield University in the UK. At Astroscale Zoé is leading a late collision avoidance concept ESA study and involved in Astroscale’s ELSA-M commercial debris removal service development – a programme designed to further our sustainable space efforts in LEO. Her range of experience spans from concept of operations, systems budgets to end-of-life, spacecraft re-entry analyses and space debris mitigation policies. Before joining Astroscale Ltd., Zoé previously worked at Airbus Defence & Space in the UK where she worked on Earth Observation ESA programmes in the Future Programmes & Bids team.

LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zoetenacci

04/2022: LHC (J Butterworth)

News from the energy frontier as the Large Hadron Collider restarts

Thursday 21st April 2022 from 19:00 for 19:30
Abingdon United Football Club (Northcourt Rd, OX14 1PL, Abingdon)

Approaching the ten-year anniversary of the discovery of the Higgs boson at the CERN Large Hadron Collider, and as Run 3 of the machine gets underway, I will review the impact of the discovery, give an overview of what we have learned since, and discuss future prospects.

Speaker: Professor Jon Butterworth

Jon Butterworth is a Professor of Physics at University College London, who has worked on energy-frontier particle physics experiments at DESY in Hamburg and, currently, at CERN, Geneva. He was involved in the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, and was awarded the Chadwick Medal of the institute of Physics in 2013 for his pioneering experimental and phenomenological work in high energy particle physics, especially in the understanding of hadronic jets. He has written two popular books on particle physics and has appeared on BBC Horizon and Radio 4’s “Infinite Monkey Cage”. He is a member of STFC Council and UCL Council, and is Scientific Advisor to the UK delegation to CERN Council.

03/2022: Perceptions of the 3D World (B Rogers & A Kacelnik)

Perception, Behaviour and Intelligence: a dialogue

Thursday 17th March 2022 from 19:00 for 19:30
Abingdon United Football Club (Northcourt Rd, OX14 1PL, Abingdon)

Autonomous agents such as people, worms, plants and driverless cars incorporate and process environmental information and generate actions according to their goals. Psychologists, biologists, and engineers deal with all these stages, and their approaches intersect in interesting ways. For instance, we interpret the phrase ‘you see what you want to see’, as meaning that collecting information is not unbiased: perception is designed to pick-up the information each agent needs to better achieve its goals. But biologists, psychologists, and roboticists have different ideas about what they mean by ‘goals’. One of us has spent most of his professional life unravelling how humans perceive the world, and the other trying to understand how other organisms make decisions according to evolutionary criteria. We have recently discovered, however, that we have more in common than we would have expected, and we will share our perspectives in an informal dialogue.

Speakers: Professor Alex Kacelnik and Professor Brian Rogers

Alex Kacelnik is Emeritus professor of Behavioral Ecology at the University of Oxford (UK). He studied biology in Buenos Aires and completed a doctorate at Oxford in 1979. Besides Oxford, he has held research positions at Groningen (Netherlands), Cambridge (UK), and Berlin, and was founder and director of the Oxford Behavioural Ecology Research Group. He is fundamentally interested on how evolution shapes psychological processes, including learning, choice, and problem solving. Alex is a Fellow of the Royal Society (London), Member of the European Academy, honorary professor at Buenos Aires University, and has received awards from the Comparative Cognition Society (USA), the Tinbergen Medal from the (British) Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour, and from the Cogito Foundation (Switzerland). He is currently External Principal Investigator at the Cluster of Excellence “Science of Intelligence” in Berlin.

Brian Rogers is Emeritus Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Pembroke College.  He is also Professor of Psychology at the State University of St Petersburg.  Brian started his career as an undergraduate and post-graduate student at Bristol University where he was supervised by Stuart Anstis and the late Richard Gregory.  After leaving Bristol, he was appointed to a Lectureship and subsequently a Readership at St Andrews University in Scotland before moving to the University of Oxford in 1984.  His main research interests are in 3-D vision, illusions, motion perception and perceptual theory as well as the role of perception in the control of action.  He co-authored three books with the late Ian Howard: “Binocular Vision and Stereopsis” (1995), “Seeing in Depth” (2002) and “Perceiving in Depth” (2012).  In 2017 he wrote “Perception – A Very Short Introduction” which was published by Oxford University Press.