Shrewsbury School

'Surviving the Century' by OS Sir Martin Rees

Thursday 20 September 2012

Sir Martin Rees (S 1956-60), cosmologist and astrophysicist, has been Astronomer Royal since 1995, and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge since 2004.  He was President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010.  A number of Salopians attended his lecture in Ludlow on 'Surviving the Century' last weekend, which is reviewed here by the 2011 Rees Scholar, James Brent (Rb UVI).

Lord Rees (from Wikipedia)Last Sunday, a mini bus full of Salopians including myself took the opportunity to hear a talk given by one of our most distinguished Old Salopians, Sir Martin Rees. The lecture took place in St Laurence Church in Ludlow, so it was only a short journey away from school. Packed tea was kindly provided on the journey to stave off our hungry stomachs.

When we arrived at the church, Lord Rees delivered the lecture with erudition, musing over what the world would be like in 2050, with a particular focus on the future of the human race. Although the speaker had once written a book declaring that the likelihood of the human race surviving the 21st century was only 50%, the talk was not unduly pessimistic in tone.

Lord Rees was concerned about our impact on the environment and each other, giving poignant warnings about how the developments in genetic engineering mean a single incident could lead to our extinction. However, he still had confidence in the ability of science and technology to address our problems and to advance civilisation.

At the end of the lecture, there was time for a brief question and answer session in which Lord Rees gave his views on the multiverse theory and expressed his desire that human beings should not forever be chained to this planet.

At the end of the lecture we returned back to school, feeling that our trip to Ludlow had been well worthwhile.

James Brent

The Sir Martin Rees Scholarship is an award for Sixth Form entrants, intending to read a science-related subject at university. Please see our Scholarships and Bursaries page for more information.

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