Next meeting Thursday 13th September, Woodford Park Leisure Centre, Haddon Dr, Woodley, RG5 4LY.
In the words of the great NGX, Eyes down 8pm.
With a huge thankyou to Ian 2E0DII, to kick off the Autumn season we welcome Prof. Bob Lambourne with a talk entitled “The Speed of Light”.
Bob says: “As a title I should like to speak about ‘The speed of light’. This will enable me to combine a number of topics that might be of interest to Radio Club members, including some historical info about James Clerk Maxwell and Oliver Heaviside. Since 1983 the speed of light (and of radio waves!) in a vacuum has been defined to be exactly 299 792 458 m/s.
This talk will examine the story of how the speed of light made the transition from a measurable speed, with a value that could be determined experimentally, to a quantity of such fundamental and practical importance that the decision was made to assign it an explicit and exact value that would put it beyond future measurement. Along the way there will be a discussion of why the speed of light represents a local speed limit in Einstein’s special theory of relativity, even though many faster than light phenomena are easily demonstrated. According to currently favoured theories, all sufficiently distant galaxies are moving away from us at more that 1 light year per annum; consequently, after less than 14 billion years of cosmic expansion, the edge of the observable universe (the cosmic horizon) is at a distance of about 46 billion light years – a neat trick in a universe limited by light speed travel! ”
James Clerk Maxwell, for me, is the patron saint of radio. A truly beautiful mind. He mathematically worked out how electricity and magnetism work together to produce our beloved electromagnetic waves.
Bob Lanbourne is Professor of Educational Physics art the Open University and Director of Studies in Physical Sciences at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. He was born and brought up in Reading but attended university in London, where he took a BSc in physics and a PhD in theoretical particle physics. His first university teaching post was in Durham where he taught the Maths Honours module in general relativity and cosmology. He has worked at the Milton Keynes campus of the Open University for over 40 years, where his roles have included three years as Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and five years as National Director of the Physics Innovation Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (piCETL). His work outside the OU has included periods as Senior Vice-President of the Institute of Physics, Chair the the Physics Education Division of the European Physical Society, and Chair of the International Commission on Physics Education, one of the Commissions of The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.