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European Space Agency Director to deliver keynote lecture in Interaction science programme

10/04/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Professor David Southwood to participate in Interaction science programme. The Science Director of ESA since 2001, he will deliver the keynote address.

The European Space Agency and Interaction, the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention are pleased to announce that ESA Science Director Professor David Southwood will give the keynote talk in the Interaction Science Programme.

The title of his lecture will be "Titan and the Imagination, Huygens and Cassini." Professor Southwood will also participate in other programme items, including an interview with leading British science fiction author, Stephen Baxter.

Simon Bradshaw, Interaction's Science Programme Area Head, notes that the science programme is an integral part of every Worldcon. "Many science fiction fans and writers are working scientists and many working scientists are inspired by science fiction," he said. "We are delighted that a scientist of Professor Southwood's experience and renown has agreed to participate in our programme."

Professor Southwood has been working in space research for nearly 40 years. He has spent much of his career at London's Imperial College, where he was head of Space Physics and latterly of the Blackett Laboratory. In this time he has published over 200 scientific papers and articles and worked on several space missions including Ulysses, Galileo and most recently the joint NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens probe to Saturn and its giant moon Titan.

Professor Southwood has had a long association with ESA, serving as chair of the Space Science Advisory Committee (1990-1993, the Science Programme Committee (1993-1996) and as Head of Earth Observation Strategy (1997-2000). After a short spell as a Regent's Professor at the University of California, Professor Southwood was chosen by the ESA Council to become the Director of Science, a post he has held since May 2001.

The World Science Fiction Convention takes place every year and science fact plays a major part in the programme. Other participants include Dr Jack Cohen from the University of Warwick and Dr Geoffrey Landis, award winning author and member of the science team overseeing the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers.

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