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ROBINSON LECTURE

Armagh Observatory, 30 October 2000
Armagh Observatory will award its fifth Robinson Medal to Dr Ian A. Crawford of University College London, on the occasion of the Robinson Lecture, to be delivered by Dr Crawford at the Navan Centre at 7.30 p.m. on Friday 3 November. The lecture, held in memory of the founder of Armagh Observatory, Archbishop Richard Robinson, is awarded biennially to an outstanding scientist. The title of Dr Crawford's lecture is "The Scientific Case for Human Spaceflight."

Ian Crawford is an expert in the physics, chemistry, and dynamics of the tenuous material, dust and gas, lying between the stars. He was involved in the development of the Ultra-High-Resolution Facility at the Anglo-Australian Telescope, which is the highest resolution astronomical instrument in the world capable of splitting starlight into its component colours. More recently, he has developed interests in circumstellar environments, in particular the discs of dust and gas that often surround stars.

The lecturer will argue that scepticism about the value of sending people into space is misplaced, and that development of a significant human spaceflight capability will offer very considerable scientific advantages. He will develop the argument using historical examples, and then outline the scientific case for the International Space Station, renewed human exploration of the Moon, exploration of Mars, and longer term possibilities. Finally, he will argue that a major spaceflight programme offers significant social, economic and political advantages for Planet Earth.

Dr Crawford is currently a PPARC Advanced Fellow and Project Scientist for the Gemini 8-metre telescope High-Resolution Optical Spectrograph.

Tickets for the lecture are free on application to Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh. Tel.: 3752-2928, Fax: 3752-7174.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Prof. Mark Bailey or John McFarland at the Armagh Observatory. Tel.: 028-3752-2928.

Last Revised: 2000 November 21st
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