Tyndall lectures 2016

Defying Gravity: the physics of spaceflight

Laura Thomas

Humans have always been fascinated by space, but how far have we gone in our exploration of the solar system and how have we achieved it? We have been space explorers for just over half a century and in this time developments in technology have allowed us to travel and explore, either by going ourselves or by sending spacecraft to explore on our behalf. The knowledge gained from this exploration has benefitted us in many ways. This exploration continues today with research bases such as the International Space Station (ISS). Tim Peake is Britain’s first astronaut to visit the ISS and will be there from December 2015 to May 2016.

This interactive session covers:

  • The physics of spaceflight: including how rockets work, how to get into orbit
  • Its history: how did we get to where we are today?
  • Current research: what will Tim Peake’s mission to the ISS help us learn?
  • Its future potential: focusing on Mars and what is required to get there

Lecturer Laura Thomas has always been fascinated by space and is looking forward to getting there herself one day. Since graduating with a degree in astrophysics from the University of Edinburgh in 2005, she has worked in science communication. In 2013 she toured the UK as the IOP Schools and Colleges’ lecturer, talking to 14- to 16-year-olds about the physics of spaceflight. Laura is a European Space Education Resource Office space ambassador, promoting the use of space as a context for learning. Laura works with lots of different organisations to promote science, technology, engineering and maths by developing resources and activities and providing support for teachers.

Tyndall 2016 Schedule




Contact name, number and email

Week 1




Monday 25 Jan


UCD – noon + 2pm

Sarah McEvoy sarah.mcevoy@ucd.ie

Tel. 01 716 2361

Tuesday 26 Jan


Carlow IT – noon

Yvonne Kavanagh, yvonne.kavanagh@itcarlow.ie

Tel. 059 917 5542

Wednesday 27 Jan


WIT – noon

Gabriel Gallagher,


Tel. 051 302645

Thursday 28th Jan


UCC – noon + 2pm

Susanna Kent or Irene Horne


Tel. 021 490 2013

Friday 29 Jan


UL – noon

Carol Ryan,


Tel .061 213113

Week  2




Monday 1 Feb


NUIG – noon

Tess Mahoney


Tel. 091 492490

Wednesday 3 Feb


QUB – 2pm

Outreach Secretary,


Tel. +44 2890 973523

Thursday 4 Feb


Foyle College – noon

Sandra O’Connell, sandraoconnell77@hotmail.com

Tel. +44 79898 90331

Cookie Settings