SCIENTISTS specialising in topics ranging from the origins of the universe to threats that may spell the end of life as we know it are giving a series of free talks.

Durham University's Saturday Morning Science programme is re-starts on September 28.

The programme features talks from world-leading academics, including cosmologist Professor Carlos Frenk, who will kick-off the series with a talk entitled ‘The Virtual Universe’, exploring how supercomputers can be used to answer the biggest questions in physics by recreating the development of the universe.

The 27 talks will cover topics including the origin of the universe, climate change, super bugs and earthquakes.

There are also sessions on controlling malaria, using abandoned coal mines to heat our homes, using satellite imagery and artificial intelligence in humanitarian crises, randomness, using algorithms to keep our skies safe, the origins of empathy and dark matter.

Each session starts at 10.30am and includes a 45-minute talk, with15 minutes for questions, which may be followed by activities like laboratory tours.

Professor Frank Krauss, from the physics department and the Institute of Particle Physics Phenomenology, said: “Scientists most often become scientists because they’re fascinated by one or more of life’s big questions or challenges.

"In this year’s Saturday Morning Science sessions, we’re letting them loose: to explore some of the most terrifying threats and most exciting breakthroughs in our world today.

“All of our speakers are brilliant researchers with a passion for inspiring interest in science. We hope this will be our best ‘Saturday Morning’ series yet and we’re looking forward to welcoming many visitors to the University when we get under way later this month.”

The talks will be held at the university’s Calman Learning Centre, off Stockton Road, Durham, on Saturdays from 28 September to 7 December 2019, from 18 January to 28 March 2020, and from 25 April to 30 May 2020.

All talks will begin at 10.30am, followed by refreshments at 11.30am. Entry is free. No pre-booking is required.

Guests arriving by car are advised to use the Park and Ride scheme or a public car park.

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