26th September 2009 WIT        

Conference introductions
Gabriel Gallagher
Dr. Eilish McLoughlin
Paul Nugent


Telescopes, their history, development and the future
Prof. David W. Hughes


SciCast Video Making Workshop
Jonathan Sanderson


Telescopes, their history, development and the future
Prof. David W. Hughes


From Walton to the LHC
Cormac O’Raifeartaigh


1609 saw the new-fangled ‘telescope’ turned towards the sky for the first time. Galileo Galilei, the famous Italian astronomer, made a host of wonderful discoveries. He found that the Moon was mountainous, the Sun spotty and that Jupiter had orbiting satellites. His observation of the moon-like phases of Venus proved that the Earth was orbiting the Sun and not vice versa.
Throughout the following 400 years telescopes have changed greatly. Hand-held instruments have been replaced by huge engineering giants. Refracting lenses have given way to massive reflecting Pyrex mirrors. Observatories in the centres of cities have been closed down and the astronomers have moved to distant mountain tops. The naked eye has been replaced by the chips we use in digital cameras.
Every fifty years or so, over the last 400 years, the size of the biggest telescope on Earth has doubled, and we have not stopped yet.


Prof David W. Hughes University of Sheffield
BSc (Birmingham), D Phil (Oxford), FRAS, F Inst P, C Phys, FRSA

For the 42 years, Hughes had lectured in physics and astronomy at the University of Sheffield, and researched into comets, asteroids, meteors, meteorites and cosmic dust, and their origin, evolution and impact with Earth. He also researched into the origin of the solar system, and the history of astronomy and astrophysics and published over 200 research papers as well as books on the Solar System, the Moon, the Universe and the Star of Bethlehem.
Hughes has lectured extensively to the general public, astronomical societies and cruise audiences and has given many talks on radio and TV. He has also helped run eclipse expeditions to the UK, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Libya. He has been actively involved in space research especially the GIOTTO mission to Comet Halley. He has also chaired committees investigating the teaching of astronomy and physics in Europe. He has been a Vice President of both the Royal Astronomical Society and the British Astronomical Association.
In 1990 asteroid 4205 was named David Hughes to honour his contribution to minor body research, and the popularization and teaching of solar system astronomy.


Astronomy Resources for Schools
Robert Hill


Participants' Comments



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