Top astronomer launches lecture in honour of Bedales student

Academic & Curriculum, Bedales Senior

The inaugural Kadian Harding Lecture featuring astronomer, Professor Gareth Wynn-Williams, took place on 8 November at Bedales School.

Gareth Wynn-Williams, who is Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, spoke about the presence of asteroids and how much of a threat they posed to earth. In a long and distinguished career, at Cambridge, Caltech and Hawaii, he has written extensively on various astronomical themes and is no stranger to Bedales – he gave the annual Eckersley Science Lecture at the school in 1978 on the topic ‘Signals from Space’.

The audience was made up of Bedales students and former students, parents, staff and other guests including a contingent from the Hampshire Astronomical Group at Clanfield.

The new annual lecture series is dedicated to Bedales student Kadian Harding who died tragically in 2012 at just 14 years of age. The Kadian Observatory was built by his friends as part of a school project on the Memorial Pitch at the school. Inside the observatory stands a powerful Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, capable of exploring more than 50,000 celestial objects and providing enough light for close-ups of the Rings of Saturn.

Bedales Headmaster Keith Budge said: “The Kadian Harding Lecture celebrates Kadian’s enthusiasm for astronomy, technology and design and there could have been no better speaker to start off the lecture series than Professor Gareth Wynn-Williams. The talk proved to be not only a masterclass in the history of asteroids from a world expert in this field, but a fine example of excellent communication, both to specialists and non-specialists. ”

The Kadian Observatory Fund was established in 2014 to provide funding for the Kadian Observatory and support associated student activities such as the Kadian Harding Lecture and an annual student Science award.

Find out more here.

View part one of the lecture: 

View part two of the lecture: