From Imagination to Reality


Date: 15 September 2012
Start Time: 9 am
End Time: 7 pm

Venue: 27/29 South Lambeth Road, London, SW8 1SZ

Man has always had ‘imagination’, and with the bowl of the stars, the Sun and the Moon appearing to revolve above him, ideas for ‘travel to the Heavens’ were amongst the very earliest speculations.

Consequently taking the Society’s own motto, this special event, From Imagination to Reality, is going to look at how some of these ideas bore fruit and some – literally – took flight.


09.00 – Registration

09.30 – Welcome and Introduction – Alistair Scott

09.45 – Faces of the MoonDavid HardyRenowned space artist, David Hardy, looks at the way our nearest neighbour in space had been depicted in art, literature and the movies.

10.45 – A British Apollo, David BakerThe BIS had made inroads into many space projects in the 1950s, including a practical Lunar Lander. Space engineer, David Baker examines those earlier imaginings and reckons we can safely look at the Apollo LM and say “We got there first”

11.45 – Coffee Break

12.00 – Pilot of the Future, Alan Bond – Even early comics had their influences on budding space engineers. Alan Bond, founder of Reaction Engines, admits to his passion for Dan Dare in ‘The Eagle’, being one of his earliest influences.

13.00 – Lunch Break

13.50 – Introduction to the afternoon sessions

14.00 – The Red Planet: Fact & FictionDr Susanne Schwenzer – Martian meteorite specialist at the Open University, reflects on current thoughts. With Curiosity safely down, will it change our views of Mars that are so ingrained with the imaginings of novels and movies?

15.00 – Moondust to Spaceport, Mat Irvine – Although not so well covered in the imagination of SF, space tourism now seems to be taking off for real. But Arthur C. Clarke did get there first with his novel ‘A Fall of Moondust’.

16.00 – Tea Break

16.15 – The Way to the Stars, Jerry Stone – The most popular subject in science fiction. But if we are to fit in with the Laws of Physics and not rely on a certain blue box, how could it happen? Jerry Stone looks at current views including the Society’s own Projects Daedalus and Icarus

17.15 – Is There Anybody There?, Jack Cohen – Our tour From Imagination To Reality ends with perhaps the biggest question we are ever likely to ask – “Are we alone in the Universe?” Here fiction certainly has had many, many answers and, coupled with images from artwork, TV and the movies suggests that ‘aliens’ could be anything from the traditional Bug Eyed Monsters, to beings identical to us. Biologist and advisor to the movies Professor Jack Cohen looks at the way ‘aliens’ have been depicted and the likelihood of any of it turning out to be accurate?

18.15-19.00 – Final discussions and round-up – Alistair Scott

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