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Ground Control to Aberystwyth

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space-week-2016-mars-terrain-model

A scale model of the terrain of Mars on display in Old College as part of Space Week.

ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY’s Department of Physics is inviting members of the local community, including students and staff, to discover more about exciting developments in space research taking place on their doorstep, as part of World Space Week (Oct 4- 10).

Declared by the United National General Assembly in 1999, World Space Week is the largest annual space event with activities held across the world to celebrate, educate and inspire the general public and children about space.

In keeping with this year’s theme of Remote Sensing Enabling Our Future, Aberystwyth University will be taking part in the global celebration with examples of remote sensing from Earth to Space. The public display will be in the Old College on Tuesday and Friday (Oct 4 – 7) between 9am and 6pm.

Some of the other exciting events on during the week include a scale model of the terrain of Mars which will be on display showing the entire surface of Mars and the Gale crater; this is currently being studied by NASA’s Mars Science Lab rover ‘Curiosity’ which was built by physicists at Aberystwyth University using data from MOLA, the Mars Orbital Laser Altimeter.

Models of flight hardware being produced in Aberystwyth which will fly to Mars on the European Space Agency’s 2020 ExoMars Rover Mission will also be on display.

Rachel Cross, a Research Associate in the Department of Physics at Aberystwyth University, is one of the organisers and said: “Scientists at Aberystwyth University have long been involved with space exploration. For example the robotic arm of the recently rediscovered 2003 Beagle2 mission was developed and calibrated by researchers at Aberystwyth, and this work provided the basis for Aberystwyth’s current involvement with the ExoMars European Space Agency mission in 2020.

“In addition to all the other activities, we will be holding a special ‘Meet the Experts’ event on Wednesday, 5thOctober between 15.30 – 18.30 in the Old College, where researchers and student ambassadors from the Department of Physics and the interdisciplinary Aberystwyth Centre for Space and Earth Monitoring (ACSEM) will be on hand to answer space and remote sensing related questions and discuss their research. It’s a free ‘drop-in’ event which is open to all – we look forward to seeing you there!”

Other exhibits include a pop-up planetarium, interactive challenges, glacial images from the Centre of Glaciology’s Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) flyover in Switzerland and a ‘spot the glacier’ challenge. So come along and control a mini-lander on the harsh Martian landscape or explore the planets using interactive software – there’s something for everyone.

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Lecture considers the future of war

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INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).

Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.

He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?

Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”

The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.

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Youth Service invited to international training event

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TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.

‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.

Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education​,​ said​:​ “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.

“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!​”​

Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from ​Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.

Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said​:​ “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker ​added​:​ “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”

Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, ​commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”

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Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds

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ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.

Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.

CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.

Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.

On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.

Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.

The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.

Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.

Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.

Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.

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