Professor Martin Barstow

The Extra-Terrestrial Roadshow and How To Be A Rocket

On May 9th The Cookie Club had a visit from Professor Martin Barstow ( Pro-Vice Chancellor, Head of the College of Science and Engineering, Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science at the University of Leicester.) who gave 2 animated lectures.

The first was on the subject of ‘The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life’, and likelihood of us making contact with technological civilisations elsewhere in the galaxy. Apparently, it can predicted by using the Drake Equation:

Number of Civilisations = R x fs x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x L

We worked it out for our Galaxy and it came to 400, but unfortunately because these civilisations are likely to be 3000 light years or so away, we are unlikely to be able to communicate with them because it would take so long to send and receive a message.

The students, from Years 7 through to 10, asked many questions, as you might expect, and Professor Barstow commented on the high level exhibited by the students’ thinking.

In his second lecture Professor Barstow gave a first-hand account of his work building and launching ‘Sounding Rockets’ in the Nevada desert. It gave us a real insight into the frustration, passion and tenaciousness needed to pursue a career in rocket launching.