This is a past event. For more events from the Ri, check out What's on

Telescopes of the future: Bringing the Universe into focus (Friday Evening Discourse)

Join Sarah Kendrew to hear how technological advances in astronomy will help us answer some of the biggest scientific questions we face today

Artist's impression of the European Extremely Large Telescope
By ESO/L. Calçada, via Wikimedia Commons

Event description

As our exploration of the cosmos continues apace, the observatories of the future, in space and on the ground, will cast light on some of the biggest scientific questions we face today: how the Universe came into being, how it evolved into its present state, and whether life could exist on other planets.Dr Sarah Kendrew will introduce you to the scientific and technological marvel of astronomy's new generation of telescopes that will revolutionise our view of the Universe in the next decade.

About the speaker

Sarah Kendrew is an Astronomer at the University of Oxford, where she works on instrumentation for the European Extremely Large Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope, two major international observatories of the future.

Her broad research interests span from young stars in the Milky Way Galaxy to galaxies in the early Universe, using data from observations, simulations and citizen science contributions.

After gaining a PhD in Physics from University College London, Sarah has held research and engineering positions at the University of Leiden, Netherlands, and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. She is now a Junior Research Fellow at St Cross College, Oxford.

Please note

If you haven't been before, please note that Friday Evening Discourses are traditional events that date back to 1825. With that in mind, many attendees like to wear smart evening dress, though this is not a requirement.

There is also a certain level of tradition and ceremony during the event, including: the speaker and host walk through the doors as the clock bell rings at exactly 8pm; the speaker starts the talk with no introduction or hellos, and should finish at 9pm as the clock bell rings again; the speaker is locked in a room 10 minutes before the talk begins to prevent them running away (legend has it that once a speaker escaped just before the discourse). 

Find out more about the history of the Friday Evening Discourses on our blog.

Food and drink

We have a special set menu for the evening, which will be available before and after the Discourse. Or beat the bar queue and start your evening with a drink or two whilst enjoying our handmade canapés at the pre-Discourse reception. £15/person from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

To book a table or the pre-Discourse reception, please phone 020 7670 2973 or email