Public Talks

This section is divided into two - talks for a general audience, and scroll down for talks to astronomy societies.

General Audience

  • Ravensbourne College: Presentation to Graphical Design students on the subject of planetary explorers, hoping to inspire innovative ways of showcasing planetary information to a broader audience via infographics, October 13th 2023.

  • Science Museum Patrons Event, March 14th 2023: “ESA’s Mission to Explore the Icy Moons of Jupiter”, a 60-minute lecture to the patrons of the Science Museum in London, followed by a Q&A session hosted by one of the museum curators.

  • UKSEDS London Cluster Meeting, February 4th 2023, virtually via Google Meet, JUICE: Exploring Jupiter’s Icy Worlds

  • Warwickshire Federation of Women’s Institutes, January 31st 2023, Leamington Spa, JWST: New Infrared Eye on the Solar System delivered to a crowd of approximately 70 attendees.

  • International Astronomy Show, Stoneleigh Park, October 14th 2022, JWST: New Infrared Eye on the Solar System

  • New Scientist Live, Manchester, March 12th 2022, Invited Talk on Journey to the Solar System’s Ice Giants, delivered in person to several hundred visitors, and followed by a conversation about my inspirations in science. Both were livestreamed to New Scientist subscribers.

  • SpaceBar#49, December 16th 2021, run by @AstroAgency with Suzie Imber and Dallas Campbell as hosts. Several of us were on-hand for a two-hour conversation about the forthcoming launch of JWST.

  • National Space Centre #GalaxiesAssemble - coordinator and speaker for two weeks of activities related to the James Webb Space Telescope, throughout the October half-term. Two public talks were well attended (~200 guests) by all ages.

  • Royal Astronomical Society Livestream of Uranus observations from NASA’s IRTF, broadcast live via Youtube. I gave a 45-minute lecture on future missions to the Ice Giants.

  • GoSpaceWatch, Virtual Lecture, April 21st 2021: Public presentation on The Jovian Explorers: From Juno to JUICE, delivered via Zoom.

  • UK in Space Festival, National Space Centre, March 7th 2020: Presentation in the Live Space gallery to ~250 attendees on our “Return to the Giants.” I was part of a host of speakers including astronauts Tim Peake and Helen Sharman:

  • New Scientist Live, Excel Centre London, October 11th 2019: Invited presentation to ~800 attendees at NSL2019, Lifting Jupiter’s Cloudy Veil: Our Exploration of the Giant Planet.

  • Pint of Science, Leicester, May 20th 2019: Onwards to the Ice Giants presentation at Manhattan 34.

  • Cassini End of Mission activities (September 2017): presentation and Q&A at National Space Centre; BBC Breakfast Appearance; Sky at Night show on end of Cassini; BBC East Midlands live from Space Centre.

  • Science Technicians Conference (June 16th 2017): Keynote speaker welcoming 80 participants to the East Midlands Science Technicians Conference at the Education Department in Leicester. I spoke on Leicester’s involvement in planetary science, the needs for high scientific literacy in society, and served as judge for a spaghetti-tower competition.

  • Leicester Literature and Philosophy Society Geology Lecture (March 10th 2017): 45-minute seminar on the “Realm of the Giants” at the University of Leicester.

  • World Space Evening at the National Space Centre (October 1st 2016): Opening lecture on exploring the outer solar system to an audience of around ~250 people (all age ranges).

  • Juno’s Arrival - Lecture at National Space Centre (July 5th 2016): Event at the Space Centre featuring a 30-minute lecture on the Juno mission plus a stand in the galleries to engage with visitors.

  • UKSEDS Conference (March 2016, University of Sheffield): Hour-long lecture on the exploration of the solar system to ~300 UK undergraduates interested in space research.

  • Open University Geological Society, Oxford, December 8th 2015: An hour-long lecture on giant planets and their satellites to approximately 40 members of the OUGS. The lecture was hosted at the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford.

  • Royal Society ‘Extremes in Science’ discussion event, Carlton House Terrace, June 1st 2015: A debate between a planetary scientist, evolutionary biologist, volcanologist and education specialist on the extremes of science. A two-hour show to an audience of about 150.

  • Pint of Science Event, May 19th 2015: One of several short science presentations over a three day festival in pubs around Oxford. I spoke for 45 minutes on the search for life in our solar system, to sold-out audience of approximately 50 people in the Oxford Retreat. This was followed by a lecture on nanorobots, and then by a pub quiz on the topics covered during the event. Great fun.

  • Henley-on-Thames Cafe Scientifique, April 15th 2015: A 45-minute lecture to an audience of approximately 50 people, followed by a lively 45-minute question and answer session. Some great feedback:

  • Oxford Outreach Lecture 2014: Our Violent Solar System: Planetary Impacts and Meteors, Lecture given to approximately 150 local members of the public at Oxford Physics.

  • Science Now: Webcast, March 2014 and January 2013 - Robot Recon: Our First Steps into the Solar System, interactive web-based course.

  • Cunard Guest Astronomy Lecturer on the Queen Mary 2 for a one-week voyage from Southampton to New York City (July 2013), featuring four lectures and planetarium shows. For full details please refer to my blog of the voyage.

  • Royal Observatory Greenwich, Summer Science Series, May 2013 - Exploring the Solar System with Robotic Spacecraft, Immersive Planetarium Show.

  • New Perspectives in Astronomy - The 35th Annual Astronomy Weekend, April 2013 - Robotic Planetary Exploration: Revealing the Mysteries of our Solar System, Oxford Centre for Continuing Education.

  • Oxford’s Museum of the History of Science, February 2013 - Strange Weather! Exploring the Giants of our Solar System, Outreach Presentation.

  • Oxford Stargazing Live, January 2013 - Robot Recon: Our First Steps Away from Earth, Outreach Talk in Oxford Physics.

  • BBC Stargazing Live Event, Newbury Racecourse 2013 - Strange Weather! Exploring the Giants of our Solar System, Outreach Presentation.

  • Institute of Physics Teachers Conference (December 2012): A one-hour lecture to approximately 70 teachers attending the Autumn Refresher course at Oxford’s Department of Physics, entitled Robotic Exploration of the Solar System.

  • Society for Popular Astronomy, October 2012 - Strange Weather: Exploring the Giant Planets. A presentation at the Khalili Lecture Theatre at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) off Russell Square in London.

  • Science Oxford Seminar: August 2nd 2012, hour-long seminar on Exploring Giants: The Mysteries of the Outer Solar System as part of their Summer Space series, audience 30-40 people.

  • Cassini-Huygens Analysis and Results of the Mission (CHARM) telecon, Tuesday May 31st 2011, “Seasonal Storms on Saturn: New Views from Cassini”. This live one-hour telecon went out live to educators, museum owners, outreach specialists across the United States and was hosted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. CHARM telecons are the last Tuesday of the month at 11:00 Pacific Time. You can ‘Listen Again’ by following the link above.

  • Impacts on Jupiter (April 2010): Presentation to Undergraduate Students (University of Amsterdam).

Astronomy Societies

  • British Astronomical Association (September 2023): “ESA’s Mission to Explore the Icy Moons of Jupiter”, a 60-minute lecture to members of the BAA, followed by a Q&A session.
  • Society for Popular Astronomy: Virtual residential course replacing their annual weekend at Preston Montford. In 2021, the theme was observing the planets, so I gave a talk on Observing Giants: Pro-Am Collaborations, both via Zoom and livestreamed onto Youtube.
  • North Lincolnshire Astronomy Society, December 7th 2020 (via Zoom), Future Exploration of the Ice Giants: “Members were still chatting about the talk as I had to leave the Zoom meeting – it was great to see so much interest and the predominant feedback was how such an interesting topic can be presented in such a way that is actually understandable to non-scientists”
  • Nene Valley Astronomical Society (Northamptonshire), September 17th 2018, Exploring the Weather of the Giant Planets.
  • British Astronomical Association Weekend, July 7th 2018, University of Warwick, Exploring the Weather of the Giant Planets via Professional-Amateur Collaboration
  • Heart of England Astronomical Society, April 26th 2018, New Views of the Jupiter System in Furnace End, North Warwickshire. “Thank you email for a most interesting and fascinating talk which you gave to the society last Thursday. I found that particular image of Jupiter’s detailed cloud formations literally out of this world and just wonder how much more we will learn over the continuing mission, so hope you may be able to come back and give us an update in a few years’ time.”
  • Milton Keynes Astronomical Society, March 16th 2018, Alien Snowstorms: Climate and Weather on Other Worlds. Feedback from the organiser: “Thank you so much for traveling to MK and presenting your excellent talk to our society last night. It is good to be reminded that real people are at the base of scientific inquiry and those scientists are of a life long path. We were privileged to invite you in our midst and we shall watch the progress of the missions you highlighted and those that will follow with heightened interest.”
  • Rutland Astronomical Society, February 7th 2018, Alien Snowstorms: The Weather on Other Worlds Oakham School. Feedback received from the organiser: “Thanks very much for an excellent and really interesting talk on Alien Snowstorms. All who attended really enjoyed it. You’re a great speaker and the material was inspiring – we could have listened and watched for another hour at least! Please keep up the great research work and telling everyone about it. We will all keep a look out for you on the internet and TV!”
  • British Astronomical Association Winchester Weekend (April 9th 2017): Keynote speaker at BAA “Winchester Weekend”, presenting new Juno findings to an audience of 200 people.
  • Leicester Astronomical Society (January 24th 2017): Hour long seminar on “Lifting Jupiter’s Cloudy Veil: The Juno Mission” to around 60-80 members of Leicester’s astronomy society at the National Space centre.
  • Guildford Astronomical Society, May 7th 2015: A 60-minute lecture at the University of Surrey, Guildford, on the same night as the UK General Election. The topic covered the exploration of the giant planets, and I was touched to receive a gift from an 8-year old girl (a handmade Saturn model, comprised of pipe-cleaners and tissue paper!) as a way of thanks.
  • Astronomy Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, February 9th 2015: A 90-minute lecture in the Schrodinger Lecture Theatre of Trinity College Dublin, to 150-200 people. The lecture was preceded by live appearances on Irish National Radio: Newstalk, the Pat Kenney Show, and the Last Word.
  • Abingdon Astronomical Society, December 8th 2014: Christmas Lecture on the Realm of the Giants to approximately 50 people (amateur astronomers).
  • Portsmouth and District Physical Society, December 3rd 2014: Christmas Lecture on the Realm of the Giants to approximately 15 people at the University of Portsmouth.
  • Stratford Astronomical Society, August 19th, 2014: A two-hour lecture on Beyond Mars: Exploring the Realm of the Giants to 30-40 amateur astronomers at Alderminster Village Hall near Stratford. A letter of thanks from their president read: “The general opinion seemed to be that your talk was one of the best we have heard for a long time. Your enthusiasm for your subject embraced us all and carried us with you. My wife, who is no scientist, said she was enthralled right to the end. It is usually a bad sign when she says “well, all that was over my head
  • Oxford University Space and Astronomy Society (OUSAS): Presentation on March 10th 2014 - Strange Weather! Exploring the Giants of our Solar System, Outreach Presentation.
  • Newbury Astronomy Society, June 2013 - Strange Weather! Exploring the Giants of our Solar System, Outreach Presentation.
  • Chipping Norton Astronomy Society, April 2013 - Strange Weather! Exploring the Giants of our Solar System, Outreach Presentation.
  • Institute of Technology and Engineering Presentation, Cheltenham (November 2012): Lecture at the University of Gloucestershire jointly hosted by the IOP and the IET- Robotic Planetary Exploration: Exploring the Mysteries of our Solar System, Outreach Talk
  • West of London Astronomical Society, December 2012 - Strange Weather: The Future of Outer Solar System Exploration, Outreach Talk. A lecture to approximately 100 amateur astronomers in Uxbridge
  • Northampton Natural History Society, November 2012 - Exploring Giants: The Future of Outer Solar System Exploration, Outreach Talk
  • British Astronomical Association: Residential Weekend in Windsor, Keynote Lecture on Long-Distance Storm Chasing: Cassini’s Exploration of Saturn, March 31st 2012
  • British Astronomical Association Annual Meeting (Norwich, May 7th 2011): A two-hour seminar with Mike Foulkes and John Rogers, the Saturn and Jupiter Section leaders of the BAA, on Pro-Am Collaborations in Exploration of the Outer Planets of our Solar System. The audience consisted of 80-100 amateur astronomers from across the UK.
  • The Mysteries of Jupiter, 30 minute lecture for the Oxford Astronomy Open Day, September 2010.
  • Leicester Astronomy Society, National Space Centre, November 8th 2005.
  • Hinckley Astronomical Society April 5th 2005: Invited by Hinckley Astronomical Society to give a public lecture on Cassini-Huygens to an audience of interested amateurs from all over the county, from the age of 13 upwards.
Leigh Fletcher
Professor of Planetary Science