Spaceman comes down to earth

James Priory in space-age mood
James Priory in space-age mood

Information overload for new theatre's debut

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Close encounters with leading figures in space exploration will help inspire the next generation in events at the Portsmouth Festivities.

Chairman James Priory, speaking at the festivities launch at the Spinnaker Tower, looked forward to the creation of Space Station Gunwharf Quays on the opening weekend of the festivities – and to NASA astronaut Stephen K Robinson, space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock and University of Portsmouth astrophysicist Daniel Thomas speaking to an audience aged 14-plus at Portsmouth Grammar School on June 16.

Dr Robinson, who has logged nearly 20 million miles in space, will also talk to enthusiasts aged nine to 11 at the Kings Theatre, Southsea, the next day.

Biographer Michael Sherborne will tell the story of science-fiction pioneer H G Wells – who briefly lived in Southsea – from a 21st century perspective at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in the historic dockyard on June 21.

At the New Theatre Royal, Lord Robert Winston asks whether our dependence on science and technology has led us into a precarious situation that is doomed to become worse before it becomes better.

Other notable speakers include Southsea resident Jim Al-Khalili, professor of physics at the University of Surrey.

His BBC4 series, The Secret Life Of Chaos, won the Best Film award at last year’s International Science Film Festival, and he will separate science fact from fiction at PGS on June 23.

And in an event entitled The Sky At Night at PGS on June 25, broadcaster Patrick Moore will answer questions after a talk by Jane Green, author of Practical Guide To The Night Sky.