In December 2023 QLM members Steven Wrathmall and Ifan Hughes gave the Physics Department’s Christmas lectures. 400 local school children came to see the talk entitled “Decoding the Spectrum: Saving Civilisation from Solar Storms”. Dani Pizzey helped plan the talk and prepare the demonstrations.

Solar flares pose a serious threat to modern-day civilisation. Space weather forecasting helps us to limit the potentially catastrophic damage caused by such events. We need a way to measure the magnetic field of the Sun from a distance of 93 million miles. In the lecture Steve and Ifan explained how we have learned about most of the Universe – by decoding the information in the radiation arriving at Earth. Research done in QLM to realise the narrowest atomic filters was highlighted, in addition to building a solar telescope with our colleagues form the Centre For Advanced Instrumentation (CFAI).