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Atomic Universe

This lecture will cover the intellectual revolutions in recent history that led to our modern understanding of atoms.

About this event

Subsequent to the Hot Big Bang, as the Universe expanded and cooled, atoms formed and, later still, decoupled from radiation. This lecture will cover the intellectual revolutions in relatively recent history that paved the way to our modern understanding of the formation, existence and interactions of atoms. 

A lecture by Katherine Blundell

This event is also available to watch live online. To register, visit:

The talk will start at 6.00pm.

They over ticket for all public lectures, a ticket does not guarantee admission. Please arrive early. Any unclaimed tickets will be transferred 10 minutes before the start of the lecture. Guidance on tickets and Covid safety can be found here:

Gresham College has offered free public lectures for over 400 years, thanks to the generosity of our supporters. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn from some of the greatest minds. To support Gresham's mission, please consider making a donation:



Professor Katherine Blundell OBE


Katherine was appointed Gresham Professor of Astronomy in 2019. She is a Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford University and a Research Fellow at St John's College. Before this she was one of the Royal Society's University Research Fellows, a Research Fellow of the 1851 Royal Commission, and a Junior Research Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford.

Her research interests include the evolution of active galaxies and their life cycles, the accretion of material near black holes and the launch and propagation of relativistic jets  (jets of plasma emitted by some black holes). In her research she uses electromagnetic imaging and spectroscopy, as well as computational techniques. 

She is also a renowned science communicator and set up a worldwide network of five schools-based Global Jet Watch observatories, which collect data on evolving black hole systems and nova explosions in our Galaxy, helping to inspire the next generation of scientists in South Africa, Chile, Australia and India. 

Her awards include a Philip Leverhulme Prize in Astrophysics, the Royal Society's Rosalind Franklin Medal in 2010, the Institute of Physics Bragg Medal in 2012, the Royal Astronomical Society's Darwin Lectureship in 2015 and an OBE for services to astronomy and the education of young people in 2017.

Blundell's first lecture series for Gresham College is called Cosmic Concepts, starting 2 October 2019, and she will be looking at how concepts developed in physics and cosmology have led to some of our most surprising discoveries about the Universe. 

Professor Blundell's lecture series are as follows:

2021/22 Cosmic Revolutions

2020/21 Cosmic Vision

2019/20 Cosmic Concepts

All lectures by the Gresham Professors of Astronomy can be accessed here.

Wednesday 3rd Nov, 2021
Museum of London

The RAF and Net Zero 2040

Chief of the Air Staff Sir Mike Wigston will speak at King's on the RAF’s ambitious target of NetZero carbon emissions by 2040

About this event

The Freeman Air and Space Institute, King's College London, is delighted to host Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, speaking on ‘Net Zero 2040: The Challenge for the Royal Air Force’.

This inaugural annual event for the Institute will take place on Tuesday 23 November at Bush House, King’s College London – 10 days after the conclusion of the COP26, UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

Earlier this year Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston set the RAF the ambitious target of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2040, 10 years ahead of the government’s NetZero 2050 goal.

This will be a unique opportunity to hear from Chief of the Air Staff himself at a public event discussing this target in a context in which Defence accounts for 50% of the UK central government’s emissions and air and space activity represents a large proportion of that amount.

This in-person event will take the form of speech from Sir Mike Wigston, followed by questions from the audience. Places are limited so please sign-up soon.

Places can be booked in person or online.

Disclaimer: For in-person events we have a policy for overbooking for places given drop out rates on the day, so please ensure you arrive in good time to avoid disappointment on the night.



Air Chief Sir Mike Wigston biography:

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston was appointed Chief of the Air Staff on 26 July 2019.

Commissioned on a University Cadetship in 1986, he completed his pilot training on the Tornado GR1 in 1992 followed by a succession of frontline tours, including operational deployments enforcing the no-fly zones in Iraq. He commanded 12(Bomber) Squadron, flying the Tornado GR4 and leading the Squadron on two operational tours in Iraq and large force exercises in Canada, Malaysia and the USA. Appointments in operational headquarters have included Al Udeid Airbase, Qatar, as the Chief of Combat Operations in the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre; Basrah International Airport, Iraq as Commander 903 Expeditionary Air Wing; and one year in Afghanistan as the Director Air Operations in Headquarters ISAF Joint Command.

Staff appointments in the Ministry of Defence have included the Operations Directorate and the predecessor to what is now Military Strategic Effects. In 2013, after a short spell as the Tornado Force Commander, he became the Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of Defence Staff. In January 2015, he was appointed Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia and Commander British Forces Cyprus, responsible for the civil governance of the Sovereign Base Areas and command of British forces based permanently in Cyprus.

Senior Royal Air Force appointments have included Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, responsible for the strategic coherence and coordination of the Royal Air Force, and oversight of the RAF100 centenary programme. Prior to becoming Chief of the Air Staff, he was Deputy Commander Capability, responsible for the strategic planning and delivery of all aspects of Royal Air Force capability including people, equipment, infrastructure and training.

Education and training includes: reading Engineering Science at Oriel College, Oxford; the Advanced Command and Staff Course; an MA in Defence Studies from King’s College London; the Higher Command and Staff Course; and the UK Pinnacle Course. He is a Vice Patron of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and President of the Royal Air Force Rowing Association.

He is married to Kate, a solicitor, and they have two grown up children. In his spare time, he enjoys sailing.

Tuesday 23rd Nov, 2021
Bush House Auditorium