Public Release: 

Here, there and everywhere: Across the universe with the Beatles

Royal Astronomical Society

IMAGE

IMAGE: NASA's patch for the Lucy mission. The diamond shape references 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' by The Beatles, while the skeleton on the left represents the Lucy hominin fossil,... view more 

Credit: NASA/SwRI

The Beatles are one of the greatest cultural phenomena to come from the 20th Century, yet many people are unaware of their impact on science.

In 'Here, There and Everywhere', inspired by the book 'La scienza dei Beatles' ('The science of the Beatles'), Viviana Ambrosi shows how the Fab Four can bring the study of celestial objects and the exploration of the universe closer to a large public audience. This is set out in a presentation on 3rd April at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science in Liverpool.

The Beatles formed at the start of the space race, and have always inspired scientists, whether they knew it or not. The Beatles' record company (EMI) used money from the sale of the White Album to fund scientific research. Some of which went towards Godfrey Hounsfield's research into X-rays, which led to the invention of the CT scanner, for which he shared a Nobel Prize.

'Across the Universe' was transmitted into deep space in 2008, and numerous songs have been played as the wakeup call for astronauts on the International Space Station, including a live musical wake up by Paul McCartney in 2005.

There are five asteroids named: Beatles, Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr. There is also a crater on Mercury named 'Lennon', and when a diamond star (a white dwarf covered in crystallised carbon) was discovered in 2004, it was nicknamed 'Lucy' after 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'.

This was also the inspiration for 'Lucy', the fossil that rewrote the story of humanity, and this in turn has inspired NASA to name their first mission to Jupiter's Trojan asteroids 'Lucy'.

This mission is due to launch in 2021 and will take 12 years to complete its journey. It is safe to say that the Beatles will be an inspiration for many years to come.

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Media contacts

Dr Robert Massey
Royal Astronomical Society
Mob: +44-0-7802-877-699
ewass-press@ras.ac.uk

Ms Anita Heward
Royal Astronomical Society
Mob: +44-0-7756-034-243
ewass-press@ras.ac.uk

Dr Morgan Hollis
Royal Astronomical Society
Mob: +44-0-7802-877-700
ewass-press@ras.ac.uk

Dr Helen Klus
Royal Astronomical Society
ewass-press@ras.ac.uk

Ms Marieke Baan
European Astronomical Society
Mob: +31-0-6-14-322-627
ewass-press@ras.ac.uk

Science contacts

Ms Viviana Ambrosi
SISSA, International School for Advanced Studies
Mob: +39-0-3481-027-200
vivianaambrosi@gmail.com

Images and captions

https://www.ras.org.uk/images/stories/EWASS2018/Ambrosi/immagine%20libri.jpg

'La scienza dei Beatles' ('The science of the Beatles') by Viviana Ambrosi.
Credit: Valentina Ambrosi

https://www.ras.org.uk/images/stories/EWASS2018/Ambrosi/Lucy-NASA.png

NASA's patch for the Lucy mission. The diamond shape references "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by The Beatles, while the skeleton on the left represents the Lucy hominin fossil, whose name was inspired by the song. Credit: NASA/SwRI.

Notes for editors

The European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS 2018) will take place at the Arena and Conference Centre (ACC) in Liverpool from 3 - 6 April 2018. Bringing together around 1500 astronomers and space scientists, the conference is the largest professional astronomy and space science event in the UK for a decade and will see leading researchers from around the world presenting their latest work.

EWASS 2018 is a joint meeting of the European Astronomical Society and the Royal Astronomical Society. It incorporates the RAS National Astronomy Meeting (NAM), and includes the annual meeting of the UK Solar Physics (UKSP) group. The conference is principally sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).

Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) is one of the largest, most dynamic and forward-thinking universities in the UK, with a vibrant community of 25,000 students from over 100 countries world-wide, 2,500 staff and 250 degree courses. LJMU celebrated its 25th anniversary of becoming a university in 2017 and has launched a new five-year vision built around four key 'pillars' to deliver excellence in education; impactful research and scholarship; enhanced civic and global engagement; and an outstanding student experience.

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 4000 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.

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