Pythagorean Astronomy: The Astronomer Royal and Potatoes on Mars


[Cross-posted from the Cardiff Physics Outreach blog]

April’s edition of our monthly astronomy podcast, presented by Chris North and Edward Gomez.

Earlier this month we were treated to a talk in Cardiff by Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal and Professor of Astrophysics at University of Cambridge. This afforded us the opportunity to speak to Professor Rees about the subject of his talk: “The World in 2015 – and beyond”. After discussing the challenges facing the long-term survival of humanity, and possible solutions, we also discussed Lord Rees’ role in the House of Lords, and recent developments in astronomy and cosmology.

There have been (yet) more exoplanet stories recently as well, so we also discussed atmospheres of exoplanets. And not wanting to limit ourselves to the biggest issues, we also discussed growing potatoes on Mars (well, the Andes, but that’s pretty close)…

An extended edition of an original broadcast on 26th April 2017 as part of Pythagoras’ Trousers on Radio Cardiff.

For an archive of Pythagorean Astronomy, visit

[Update 25 April: You can also listen to an audio recording of Lord Rees’ lecture.]

3 thoughts on “Pythagorean Astronomy: The Astronomer Royal and Potatoes on Mars

  1. AvatarMaria Flores

    I love the point you made that the food production will keep up with population group, we just need to work on distribution.

    Do you feel that the distribution is actually improving?

    In some ways I’m pessimistic about that, but I’d love to hear a positive story about food distribution being more fair. It is so mindboggling that in 2017 with all of the technology and transportation we have available to us, there is still a distribution issue.

    Thanks a lot, podcast was really stimulating 🙂

    1. AvatarChris North Post author

      I think Prof Rees’ point was that the distribution problem is solvable *in principle*, though politics, wars etc. tend to get in the way, meaning that either the food can’t get to the people who need it or only the richest have access to it.

      Glad you enjoyed the podcast!

      1. AvatarMaria Flores

        Right, ok that makes sense.

        Hopefully the “gig” economy will bring income to areas that previously didn’t have too much, and the distribution issue can side skirt politics/wars to some extent.

Comments are closed.