ATOM Festival Event:

Thursday 23rd March at Larkmead School, Abingdon

Buy one ticket and attend either/both talks


Professor Frank Close, University of Oxford

Eclipse: Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon


On 21 August 2017, over 100 million people will gather in a narrow belt across the USA to witness the most watched total solar eclipse in history. This talk describes the spellbinding allure of this most beautiful natural phenomenon, why eclipses happen, reveals their role in history, literature and myth, and also focuses on eclipse chasers, who travel with ecstatic fervour to some of the most inaccessible places on the globe to be present at the moment of totality. The book includes the author's quest to solve a 3000 years old mystery: how did the moon move backwards during a total solar eclipse, as claimed in the Book of Joshua?

This is an inspirational tale: how a teacher and an eclipse inspired the author, aged eight, to a life in science, and a love affair with eclipses, which takes him to a war zone in the Western Sahara, to the South Pacific and the African bush. The tale comes full circle with another eight-year old boy - the author's grandson - at the 2017 great American eclipse. Book your journey to the USA this summer while there are still places available, and find out more in Eclipse - Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon, Frank Close's latest book, which will be on sale after the talk

Thursday 23rd March 2017 at 6.30pm at Larkmead School, Abingdon


Professor Charles Pasternak:                         What Makes Us Human?


Man's unique behaviour is best explained by an apparent paradox. Man's actions depend on the one hand on a fundamental quality of all living organisms - the tendency to search - and on the other hand on a combination of human attributes that enable him to search more intensely than any other creature: to search for answers as well as for objects, to search out of curiosity as well as need. Human attributes do not depend on typically human genes: they result from genes that are common to man and his closest relative, the chimpanzee. It is merely a few mutations within such genes that have enabled the one to dominate the globe, the other to be in danger of extinction. Where will human quest lead man over the next 100 years, over the next million? Will it lead to his own destruction?

Thursday 23rd March 2017 at 8pm at Larkmead School

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