Opening Guest Lecture - Sunday evening

Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, Astrophysicist, Broadcaster, Stargazing Live

Lisa Harvey-Smith is an award-winning Australian astronomer, author and TV presenter. Lisa is a Professor of Practice at the University of New South Wales and the Australian Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador. She previously worked on the mega-telescope project called the Square Kilometre Array – a continent-spanning next-generation radio telescope that will study the history of the universe. She is the author of popular astronomy book When Galaxies Collide and last year toured Australia with a series of live astronomy shows. She has appeared on stage with Apollo astronauts including Buzz Aldrin and is a presenter on ABC Television's hit astronomy show Stargazing Live

In this exciting live presentation Lisa takes the audience on a journey through our cosmos, asking the question: what happens When Galaxies Collide? The event will be followed by a book signing event for When Galaxies Collide, which was described by Prof. Brian Cox as 'A fascinating and inspiring tour of the galaxies'.

International Speakers

Professor Lola Peréz Marin, University of Córdoba, Spain – Food Science keynote

Dr. Pérez-Marín is a Professor in the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Engineering (at the University of Cordoba in Spain. Currently, she is Director of the Master Agri-Food Plants Projects and Management and vice-dean in her Faculty. 

Dr Ilias Tachtsidis, University College London - Functional NIR spectroscopy keynote

Dr Tachtsidis is a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow and Reader in Biomedical Engineering at University College London, UK. He is a senior member of the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory and heads the Multi-Modal Spectroscopy Group. His research is highly multi-disciplinary, crossing the boundaries between engineering, physics, neuroscience and clinical medicine. The technical focus of his work is the development and use of non-invasive optical instruments and techniques for monitoring brain oxygenation, haemodynamics and metabolism. A major part of Dr Tachtsidis research is to investigate the use and limitations of functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy or fNIRS in neuroscience applications. 

Dr Paola Ricciardi, Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, England - Museum keynote

Paola Ricciardi is the Fitzwilliam Museum’s first (and only!) Research Scientist. She holds a PhD in Cultural Heritage Science from the University of Florence (2008) and a Master’s Degree in Physics from the University of Rome (2003). Before joining the Fitzwilliam Museum (The University of Cambridge’s art and antiquities museum) in October 2011, she spent three years at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC as the Samuel H. Kress post-doctoral Fellow in Imaging Science. At the Fitzwilliam, Paola is responsible for the scientific aspects of the MINIARE research project (, which uses a cross-disciplinary approach to study medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts. She is also engaged in research on other types of objects such as medieval polychrome wood sculptures, early Modern portrait miniatures, and 18th century ceramics and glass. Her main research interests include the technical analysis of cultural heritage objects, particularly with non-invasive imaging and spectroscopic methods; the study of artists’ materials and techniques; and the transfer of knowledge between artists and craftsmen working in different media.

National Speakers

Dr Kara Youngentob, Australian National University - Wildlife Keynote

Dr Kara Youngentob is a Research Fellow in Ecology and Evolution at the Australian National University. She holds a PhD in Ecology from the Australian National University (2010) and a MSc in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida (2004). Her research investigates relationships between forage quality and landscape use by herbivores to help inform wildlife management and conservation decisions. Largescale investigations of plant nutritional traits are only possible using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy. Dr Youngentob is also developing tools to map the quality of forage for koalas and other browsing herbivores using airborne hyperspectral remote sensing data.