On November 14th we were delighted to welcome Professor Stephen Roberts from the University of Oxford, to deliver a lecture to students, 'Finding Earth v2; Automating the Discovery of Planets Around Distant Stars'. The lecture is part of the school's Nucleus STEM Lecture Series.
As one of the leaders in his field in the use of computing to advance scientific analysis, Professor Roberts spoke to students about the search for ‘exoplanets’ (planets that lie beyond the boundaries of our solar system), and how he and his team are making use of artificial intelligence to look for them. He shared with the students some of his observations, then explained how without the use of high powered computer systems, the detection of these planets would be virtually impossible.
Students were also given the opportunity to ask some insightful questions such as "What would another habitable planet would be like?", "How long did it take to develop the AI used in his research?" and "What are the possible dangers of AI in the future?".
Professor Roberts was hugely impressed with the standard of questions asked and the level of thought that had gone into them. He has said he would be delighted to return to Northampton Academy in the future.
Our next lecture is from Dr. Paul King from the University of Leicester on Thursday 5th December. All students from Northampton Academy and students from other secondary schools are invited to attend.