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Making light work of the internet

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Professor Andrew Ellis, Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies

How does the internet work? We think about tablets, smart phones and computers, but they are all connected together by optical fibre. This lecture will examine the history and future of optical communications, tracing its evolution from Greek mythology to the immense web of fibres used today to transport information ranging from social media to financial transactions, from entertainment to government systems.

However, a victim of its own success, significant problems lie just around the corner and we shall investigate their causes, and discuss potential solutions, and likely outcomes if solutions are not found.

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Five most amazing photos taken by Hubble space telescope!

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Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, BBC The Sky at Night

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The Pen is mightier than the Laser? The Power of Light in Literature, Art and Culture

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Dr Greg Lynall, University of Liverpool

For centuries, writers and artists have been fascinated by the science of light. This talk will trace the history of light technologies by exploring the many ways in which literature, art and popular culture have both reflected and influenced developments in optics, photonics and photovoltaics. Ranging from John Milton to Ian McEwan, Archimedes to Isaac Asimov, the lecture will show how the imaginative power of light inspires us to think about the relationships between science and nature, humanity and the cosmos.

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Light and art: an indivisible relationship

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Professor Alessandro Farini, CNR-National Institute of Optics and University of Florence

It is impossible to separate our vision from light, but the relationship between light, vision and perception is not completely clear nowadays.

Light measured from an instrument and light perceived from the brain are two different things. Changing light that hits an object can change the perceived color of the object, but if the story is over the color of an object is simply something that does not exist. Luckily, we have a skill, named color constancy, which ensures that the perceived color of objects remains relatively constant under varying illumination conditions. So we can readapt our vision under different lightings; this skill was recently in the spotlight due to the famous #thedress color debate in the social network.

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Working at the Speed of Light

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Lecture by Professor William O’Neill

Laser technology is often seen performing incredible feats of destruction in fictional works such as James Bond Movies or Star Trek. The truth is that far from destroying things, for the past 55 years modern high power lasers have been responsible for an incredible array of manufacturing processes that shape the world and products around us.

This talk will showcase the state-of-the-art in modern high power laser technology and their applications. From Nano machining to shipbuilding, and destroying missiles to making spaceships, the applications seem endless.

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