[ASC-list] BrisScience and BWF: Moving on from the Boy Scouts

Lynelle Ross l.ross at smp.uq.edu.au
Tue Aug 25 06:09:28 UTC 2009

BrisScience and the Brisbane Writers Festival is proud to present  
Author and primatologist Andrew Westoll, spent a year in the jungles  
of Suriname. He joins Australian Geographic Young Adventurer of the  
Year, Chris Bray and Himalayan trekker Gary Weare to swap stories.
Authors: Chris Bray, Gary Weare, Andrew Westoll
Saturday 12 September 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: The Breezeway Stage visit www.brisbanewritersfestival.com  
for more information about location.

We have 60 reserved seating tickets for this event exclusively for  
BrisScience members. If you would like to go into the draw to win two  
tickets please email your name, contact phone number and postal  
address (so we can post you the tickets) to Lynelle (l.ross at smp.uq.edu.au 
) by close of business on Thursday 3rd September. Winning tickets will  
be drawn randomly and posted on Friday 4th September.
This event is free and open to all. No RSVP necessary

Friday 11 September in Auditorium 1.
2:45 - 3:45PM
Creativity: Art or Science?
John Birmingham Rowan Gilmore Mandyam Srinivasan discuss the creative
passion shared by authors and scientists. What exactly do they have in
Chair: Fred Watson

Friday 11 September in Queensland Terrace
6 - 7PM
Science is Stranger Than Fiction
Marianne de Pierres
Peter McAllister
Paul Meredith
Chair: Jack Heath
Explore the boundaries between science fiction and science fact and
the endless possibilities in between.

Saturday 12 September The Studio
11:30AM - 12:30PM
2009 Queensland Premier's Literary Awards
Science Writer Award
Short-listed authors in conversation with Robyn Williams

UPCOMING BRISSCIENCE TALKS visit www.BrisScience.org for further  
12 October - Dr Michael Murphy from Swinburne University (Astrophysics)
30 November - Len Fisher, UK Author of Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game  
Theory in Everyday Life, How to Dunk a Doughnut: The Science of  
Everyday Life, Weighing the Soul: The Evolution of Scientific Ideas,  
and The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life
14 December - Dr Daryl Cooper, University of California, Santa Barbara

Thursday 3rd September 2009 6.30 - 7.30 pm
Room 222, Parnell Building, The University of Queensland, St Lucia
To Planets or just to the shops, Plasmas pave the path presented by A/ 
Prof Christine Charles
Plasmas have existed since the very first moments of the Universe. It  
is the stuff of stars. It fills the space between the stars. It gives  
us the beautiful northern and southern aurorae. Our houses have plasma  
TV displays and plasma lights (fluorescent tubes). Everywhere we look,  
there is plasma. But we stand on solid earth and the solid state  
accounts for less than one percent of the total mass of the Universe.  
The rest is plasma, a hot ionise gas containing positive and negative  
charges (except, perhaps, for dark matter). By properly harnessing the  
plasma state we can make microchips for computers, we can make plasma  
engines (thrusters) to get to the planets and we can make fuel cells  
to take people just down to the shops. The discovery in Australia of a  
current-free electric double layer (a cliff of potential like a river  
waterfall which energises charged particles falling through them) in a  
laboratory plasma is the basis of a new space engine: the Australian  
Helicon Double Layer Thruster. The HDLT has been the focus of many  
documentaries (ABC Catalyst 2004 and 2007, Discovery Channel Canada  
2008, ABC 2 Space Show 2007).

Tuesday 8th September
The Cosmic Distance Ladder
5:45 pm (for a 6:00 pm start) – 7:30 pm (Refreshments to follow after)
Gardens Theatre, Queensland University of Technology
Garden Point, Brisbane
How do we know the distances from the earth to the sun and moon, from  
the sun to the other planets, and from the sun to other stars and  
distant galaxies?  Clearly we cannot measure these directly.   
Nevertheless there are many indirect methods of measurement, combined  
with basic high-school mathematics, which can allow one to get quite  
convincing and accurate results without the need for advanced  
technology (for instance, even the ancient Greeks could compute the  
distances from the earth to the sun and moon to moderate accuracy).   
These methods rely on climbing a "cosmic distance ladder", using  
measurements of nearby distances to then deduce estimates on distances  
slightly further away; we shall discuss several of the rungs in this  
ladder in this talk.
To register, visit www.scitech.qut.edu.au/industry/corporateevents/

Wednesday 9th September
Compressed Sensing
3.00 pm - 4.00 pm(Refreshments to follow after)
Parnell Building Room 222,
St Lucia, The University of Queensland
Suppose one wants to recover an unknown signal x in R^n from a given  
vector Ax=b in R^m of linear measurements of the signal x. If the  
number of measurements m is less than the degrees of freedom n of the  
signal, then the problem is underdetermined and the solution x is not  
unique. However, if we also know that x is sparse or compressible with  
respect to some basis, then it is a remarkable fact that (given some  
assumptions on the measurement matrix A) we can reconstruct x from the  
measurements b with high accuracy, and in some cases with perfect  
accuracy. Furthermore, the algorithm for performing the reconstruction  
is computationally feasible. This observation underlies the newly  
developing field of compressed sensing. In this talk we will discuss  
some of the mathematical foundations of this field.
Please RSVP to Lynelle Ross (l.ross at smp.uq.edu.au)

THURSDAY 17 September 2009
Professor Charley Lineweaver will discuss the possibility of more than  
one Universe with Dr Joel Gilmore
Our current ideas of the very early universe are based on quantum  
cosmology.  These ideas suggest that our Universe may be embedded in a  
larger hierarchy of parallel universes called the Multiverse.  Sounds  
crazy but Professor Lineweaver will try to explain why it makes some  
sense. We would like to know how or why the constants of physics (e.g.  
the speed of light, the strength of gravity, the ratio of the proton  
mass to the electron mass, the cosmological constant) have the values  
that they do have. For some cosmologists, these constants have special  
values in our universe which seem to make it “fit for life”. In the  
context of a multiverse, each universe might have different values for  
these constants, and then anthropic selection could explain the  
apparent fitness of our universe to host life. Without a multiverse,  
we just have to accept the constants as given. I will try to describe  
possible tests for the existence of the Multiverse.
Time: 6.30 pm - 7.30 pm (Doors open at 6pm)
Venue: Winterford Room, upstairs at the Regatta Hotel, Coronation  
Drive Toowong.
Attendees will be able to purchase drinks at the bar

To join or leave our mailing list please email l.ross at smp.uq.edu.au or  
visit BrisScience at www.BrisScience.org
Become a friend of BrisScience on Facebook! Visit us at www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5211859132
Please forward this email to friends, colleagues and family!

 From your friendly BrisScience Co-ordinators, Joel and Lynelle
c/o School of Mathematics and Physics,
The University of Queensland,
Brisbane Australia, 4072
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