The 5th Stephen Gray Lecture

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Every year the Stephen Gray Lecture reaches out across our diverse university community and to the wider public. It aims to expound and debate some of the great scientific issues of our time. We live in an age of danger and wonder that cannot be navigated fruitfully without engaging with science. The Stephen Gray Lecture attempts to be a small contribution to that. But this would not be possible without the most important contribution: the many members of our university community and of the wider public who choose to engage and who make this event the living, breathing thing we want it to be.

Prof Lord Martin Rees’ excellent talk and the lively debate that ensured with my Kent colleagues (Maria Alfredsson, Robert Barker, Charlie Gardner, Nigel Mason, Jennifer Tullet, and Philippe de Wilde) have given us all plenty to think about. If you missed it, you can find the Youtube video here. I really wish to thank Let us keep that conversation going.

My colleagues at Kent’s Division of Natural Sciences (thanks especially to Hannah Tonry, Amy Jackson and Rachel Small) have put together a list of all the questions put by members of the audience – the above link will take you to the questions as well. There are real gems there that we didn’t have time to address – and other questions that were addressed but where we barely scratched the surface. I suggest the hashtags #StephenGrayLecture and #TheWorldIn2050 may provide useful meeting points for those of us who want to keep the debate going.

Finally, I would like to encourage you to visit the Stephen Gray Lectures website at There you will find links to the video of the latest lecture and to most of the previous ones. You will also find resources to learn more about Stephen Gray, the Canterbury electrical pioneer and astronomer whom this lecture series is named after.

I hope to welcome you again next year. In the meanwhile, stay safe, and stay engaged!

Jorge Quintanilla
Organiser, Stephen Gray Lectures

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