The impact of major space weather events are currently being discussed at the highest level of governments and is an active area of research. The potential damage of a solar superstorm to our national economy, communications network and electricity grid is a real threat and must be taken seriously. Such storms can cause the loss of GPS (with many more consequences than just not being able to find the way to the supermarket), alter the orbits of satellites and could cripple the electricity grids around the world. Join Dr. Sean Elvidge from the University of Birmingham to explore the causes of space weather, the potential repercussions of a superstorm and an explanation of the work that is currently being undertaken to understand and mitigate these risks.
One of the most celebrated results in physics is Einstein's theory of General Relativity (GR). GR contained the profound insight that mass caused space to curve. If space itself is curved then what does that mean for the geometry of our Universe? Join Dr. Sean Elvidge from the University of Birmingham to explore the different possibilities for the shape of our Universe, and what effect that has on its (and our) eventual fate.
"Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" by Edwin A. Abbott is a classic book which explores a 2D world occupied by geometric figures. The narrator, A. Square, guides us through some of the implications of life in two dimensions. This talk further explores that world and the physics of living in 2D.
Extreme events, by their very nature, occur rarely. As such extrapolation from existing data to estimate the probability of such events is fraught with risk. The initial assumptions about the underlying probability distribution has a large impact on the estimations. Extreme Value Theory (EVT) provides advanced tools for estimating probability distribution functions with very few initial assumptions. This talk provides the history and mathematical description of using EVT. Two motivating examples are given: the probability of the 2008 financial crash occurring again and the probability of a solar superstorm hitting the Earth.
This talk explores the state-of-the-art in modelling the ionosphere using data assimilation. In the latter part of the talk, challenges for the future of the field are discussed and some thoughts on how they can be overcome are presented.