On Friday 25th April I4IS Director Rob Swinney braved the Friday afternoon rush hour to drive deep in to the suburbs of Manchester, England to give a talk to the Philsoc of Manchester Grammer School (MGS), Withington High School and Manchester High School for Girls. This Philsoc had run in some guise for nearly 150 years where the sixth formers of originally MGS organised stimulating talks from the boys themselves and later from natural philosophers and scientists of some renown. On this Friday they had invited him to speak because of connections to Project Icarus, Initiative for Interstellar Studies and the British Interplanetary Society.
If you don’t know Manchester it was cold, grey and as usual raining - sorry, that’s a bit of an English in-joke but nonetheless true on this occasion. Rob was hosted by the Vice Chairman of the Philsoc, Max Hadfield of MGS and the talk was given in the science lecture hall of the Withington High School with perhaps 30-40 students and one physics teacher attending.
The time available necessitated a rapid run through the history of Interstellar Studies to the current problems and programmes with extreme deep space travel but if the number of questions generated was anything to go by it seemed well received by the audience. The mostly science students were quick to grasp the difficulties of interstellar travel due to the distances and the tyranny of the Ideal Rocket Equation but also debated some ethical questions such as just sending DNA to populate other systems rather than difficult to send humans.
If you know of any school that might welcome hearing more about our work then let us know; if we have someone in the vicinity we may be able to help.