In-person Lecture This event has passed Booking Recommended

Going beyond emissions reduction – Climate Repair

Dr Shaun Fitzgerald




  • 18:00 - 19:00
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Lecture Theatre

The lecture will firstly summarise exactly where we are with climate change and crucially what the scientists are now considering in terms of the future. A future based purely on emissions reductions cannot keep the world below 1.5C.

We discuss some of the exciting ideas for greenhouse gas removal, and importantly going beyond terrestrial-based carbon dioxide removal. We will explore some of the approaches for marine carbon dioxide removal as well as the development of materials to accelerate the rate of oxidation of methane.

We will then spend time discussing what additional options we might have beyond emissions reduction and greenhouse gas removal; whilst these are necessary, even the most optimistic and ambitious scenarios considered by the IPCC indicate that they are not sufficient to keep temperatures below 1.5C. We will therefore review engineering concepts to limit temperature rise or interventions to protect glaciers and sea-ice, and ostensibly buy us time to stave off the worst effects of climate change whilst we get greenhouse gas levels down.

We will explore the different technologies which are being researched at the University of Cambridge in collaboration with multiple partner universities around the world, as well as the issues of public attitudes, governance and ethics associated with such research and potential deployment.

In-person Lecture This event has passed Booking Recommended

The quest for the first stars and first black holes with the James Webb Space Telescope

Professor Roberto Maiolino




  • 18:00 - 19:00
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Lecture Theatre

Finding and understanding the nature of the first stars at cosmic dawn is one of the most important and most ambitious goals for modern astrophysics. The first populations of stars produced the first chemical elements heavier than helium and formed the first, small protogalaxies, which then evolved, across the cosmic epoch, into the large and mature galaxies, such as the Milky Way and those in our local neighbour. Equally important and equally challenging is the search, in the early Universe, of the seeds of the first population of black holes, which later evolved in the supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies, with masses even exceeding a billion times the mass of the Sun. When matter accretes on such supermassive black holes it can become so luminous to vastly outshine the light emitted by all stars in their host galaxy.

Since its launch, about two years ago, the James Webb Space Telescope has been revolutionizing this area of research. Its sensitivity in detecting infrared light from the remotest parts of the Universe is orders of magnitude higher than any previous observatory, an historical leap in astronomy and, more broadly, in science. I will presents some of the first, extraordinary discoveries from the Webb telescope, which have resulted in several unexpected findings. I will also discuss the new puzzles and areas of investigation that have been opened by Webb’s observations, how these challenge theoretical models, and the prospects of further progress in the coming years.


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