The Stars Were Out at Morley

Last night saw the first Penny Lecture of 2015 take us to the stars with speakers Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest discussing the Cosmic Quest – from Babylon to the Big Bang.

Our popular lecture series saw 150 guests attend the first lecture of the year.

Both Heather and Nigel are international broadcasters and writers on astronomy, space and science. They have produced several TV programmes both together and individually for broadcast around the world, and written numerous books, the latest of which are Philip’s Stargazing 2014 and The Story of Astronomy.

Both were honoured by the International Astronomical Union with asteroids named after them. Asteroid number 3922 is named “Heather” and asteroid 3795 is “Nigel”. Heather was awarded the CBE for Serves to Science in 2007.

This lecture marks the start of the winter series of Penny Lectures which were re-launched last September to mark Morley’s 125th anniversary. Previous speakers have included Professor Jerry White who discussed the history of London during the First World War, Professor Roger Kneebone who outlined the similarities between surgery and craft and the shared learning opportunities of both, and Director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti who discussed issues from her book On Liberty.

The Penny Lectures date back to the earliest history of Morley College with founder Emma Cons hosting weekly lectures at the Royal Victoria Coffee and Music Hall, which is now the Old Vic theatre. The aim was to offer morally-decent entertainment at affordable prices for the community. The lectures would play host to eminent scientists of the day and address the public on a wide range of topics, all for just one penny.

The lecture series will continue in February with human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell discussing The Unfinished Battle for LGBTI Rights in the UK in February. In March feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez will join us to discuss the question Does Female Representation Matter?

Last night saw the first Penny Lecture of 2015 take us to the stars with speakers Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest discussing the Cosmic Quest – from Babylon to the Big Bang.

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