OU researcher from the Faculty of Science, Geraint (Taff) Morgan, was one of 12 keynote speakers at the launch of the first ever TEDx and European Space Agency (ESA) event.
In his speech, entitled Down to Earth, Taff explored how technology from the Philae lander can be translated to daily life to uncover bedbugs in hotels and even detect cancer.
TEDxESA, which focused on the theme ‘Science Beyond Fiction’ and was hosted in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, is part of a long-term collaboration that aims to engage a European audience in scientific research and technological innovations. The collaboration began following the successful TEDxRheinMain Rocketminds event, launched recently in Germany.
Following the conference, Taff said:
It was great to have the chance to tell the Ptolemy story and how we have transferred the scientific knowledge to challenges back here on Earth, both at the OU and at ESA BIC. I’ve received significant support from the Faculty of Science in exploring terrestrial applications for our space know-how and want to thank the Faculty for that.
Following the talk, I was amazed at the number of people that I met who have direct links with the OU; I spoke to a member of staff, a former PhD student, two alumni and two current undergraduates – not bad from an audience of 300.
TEDxESA explored the limitless boundaries of scientific exploration and turning the impossible into reality. Highlights included a first-hand account from Samantha Cristoforetti on her extraordinary 200-day space mission, and a performance from electronic musician, Peter Kirn, who sampled sounds from space using ESA and NASA public audio archives. More than 9,000 watched the event, which was live streamed across the world.
The Open University is investing in space science as one of its research priorities. Research by academics at the OU into space contributes to major global challenges through scientific exploitation of imaging and detection technologies and to building UK economy’s space sector.