Origami Universe and Boulders From Mars in Cosmic Collisions

Scientists at Scottish event exploring the fundamental secrets of the universe say it’s a great time to get involved in space research

Scientists who are helping unlock the secrets of our solar system and the nature of the universe will be among the star attractions at Scotland’s Cosmic Collisions event.

An exhibition linked to the event, which is in Sanquhar on June 23 and 24, will feature exhibits including a Galaxy Making Machine and a headset that lets visitors watch a universe form.

They can also make an origami universe and visit the nearby 55-acre Crawick Multiverse artland which is inspired by themes of astronomy and cosmology.

Speakers include Prof. Carlos Frenk, Director of Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, whose computer simulations are pushing forward our understanding of how galaxies and the universe form, and Prof. Monica Grady, who was part of the project to land the Philae probe on a comet.

The exhibits provided by Prof. Frenk’s team, from Durham University’s Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, are not only fun but highlight what an exciting moment it is to be involved in space science.

He said: “There will be a Galaxy Making Machine where you choose what components go into your virtual galaxy plus some very special VR headgear which will allow you to see the evolution of a cosmos.”

The professor played a leading role in developing the theory that much of our universe consists of an exotic material known as dark matter.

He said: “It is an exciting moment for a career in this area of science. We have come a long way very quickly but are still at the very beginning. We still don’t really know what dark matter is and the great prize is to understand exactly how the universe began. The big questions are all still there to be answered.”

Prof. Grady also believes that the years ahead will be important for space science, with opportunities for today’s young women and men to contribute to huge advances and great discoveries.

Prof. Grady, the Open University Professor of Planetary and Space and Sciences, said: “A series of Moon and Mars missions are being prepared, including one to bring back a sample from Mars. These pave the way for future human exploration. I think we could be back on the Moon by 2025 and be on Mars by 2035.”

Her talk will be about space collisions, including the fact that the Earth gets hit by small meteorites around 10,000 times a year, and by large meteorites every 50,000 to 1 million years. By studying the geology of meteorite fragments she and her team are able to learn more about the early solar system and how it was formed.

Cosmic Collisions explores the fundamental secrets of the universe and its creation. It will include talks by artists and architects as well as scientists. There will also be a special performance and the unveiling of a new art installation by Charles Jencks at Crawick Multiverse.

The exhibition is called Cosmic Collisions, Birth, Rebirth and the Universe and takes place at the MERZ Gallery in Sanquhar, Dumfries and Galloway. It will include previously unseen work by Daniel Libeskind showing how spiral galaxies lie at the heart of his design for Durham University’s Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics building where Prof. Frenk is based.

A new body of work by Charles Jencks will be on display along with pieces by the artist Rachel Libeskind in her first ever collaboration with her brother Noam.