Date: Saturday 15th October | Time: 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Dr Melanie Windridge.

Dr Melanie Windridge has a PhD in Plasma Physics from Imperial College London, where she worked on fusion energy at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in Oxfordshire. Melanie was the Institute of Physics’ Schools lecturer for 2010, spending the year visiting schools to talk about nuclear fusion. She has written a book based on this lecture tour – Star Chambers: The Race to Fusion Power, published by White Label Books – which gives a basic introduction to fusion energy for the general reader.

As well as being an experienced lecturer, Melanie has made several television appearances, including various programmes for the National Geographic Channel and the BBC. She has had articles published online by The Times and The Guardian.

Melanie’s research in fusion was prompted by a strong interest in energy and the environment, engendered at school and furthered by travel – the same interest which has sparked her desire to visit the Arctic. In 2005 her family set up the family-run charity Edirisa UK (of which she is a trustee), promoting education and sustainable development in Uganda. She loves mountains and adventure and has climbed many alpine peaks, including Mont Blanc, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus.

Melanie acts as a consultant for science and technology start-up companies, and as an Educational Consultant at the Ogden Trust, which promotes physics education. She is an academic visitor at Imperial College London. Her latest book Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights was published by HarperCollins in 2016.




Lecture synopsis

Aurora: Search of the Northern Lights

Do we really understand the northern lights? Tour operators will have us believe that we do, but there are still mysteries hidden behind the dancing curtains of light.

Interweaving the science with a background of their history, folklore and changing landscape, Aurora brings together space, place and science in magnificent style. In a journey that takes her through Scandinavia, Canada and Svalbard, culminating in a spectacular solar eclipse, Dr Melanie Windridge delves into the Northern Lights.

This beautiful and inspiring lecture will describe our connection to the Sun, the scientific processes behind the polar lights, and some of the unwanted technological effects of Space Weather – with beautiful images and adventure stories.