22-25 July 2021 Jodrell Bank Observatory

Jim Al-Khalili: Sunfall

Jim Al-Khalili is an academic physicist, author and broadcaster. Since 2005, he has held a joint chair in physics and in the public engagement in science at the University of Surrey, where he teaches and conducts theoretical research in quantum physics. He has written 12 books, between them translated into over twenty languages. His book, Pathfinders, was shortlisted for the Warwick Prize in 2013, and more recently,Life on the Edge: the coming of age of quantum biology was shortlisted for the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize. He is a regular presenter of TV science documentaries, including the Bafta nominated Chemistry: A Volatile History and Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity. For the past seven years he has presented the award-winning weekly BBC Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific.

Jim is a fellow of the Royal Society and the current president of the British Science Association. He is a trustee of the Institute of Physics and on the judging panel of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. As an advocate for secular humanism, he served as president of Humanists UK for three years. He is a recipient of the Royal Society Michael Faraday medal, the Institute of Physics Kelvin Medal and the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication. He received an OBE in 2007 for ‘services to science’ and elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2018.

Sunfall, a near-future SF thriller, is his first novel.

Talk: Sunfall

Renowned theoretical physicist, broadcaster and author Professor Jim Al-Khalili will talk about the cutting-edge science behind his new rip-roaring race-against-time thriller about an end-of-the-world event that could actually happen…

The year is 2041 and planet Earth is in trouble.

It seems to be turning against itself. Extreme weather events coincide with catastrophic technological failures. Mega-storms devastate coastlines. Planes fall out of the skies. Few realise that these events are connected: the magnetic field that protects all life on Earth is failing . . .

Desperate to avoid mass hysteria, world governments have suppressed the truth about this impending Armageddon. But then a young Iranian hacktivist discovers what’s really going on – and the genie is out of the bottle. Can anything be done to save humankind from this fate?

Three scientists believe they have the answer: to reactivate the magnetic field using dark matter. But time is not on their – or the world’s – side. As they race to find a way of transforming theory into practice, they face a fanatical group with their own endgame agenda. For it believes mankind to be a plague upon this earth and will do anything to ensure that the project fails.

And so bring about the world’s end.


Friday 2019