CANCELLED: The Blue Heart of Planet Earth - A Talk by Helen Czerski


Find out more about our oceans with physicist and author Helen Czerski. This event also includes entry to see Luke Jerram's Gaia art work

The ocean is not just the place where the fish live. It’s not just a giant puddle that happens to cover much of Earth’s surface. It’s a beautiful and dynamic engine that drives our world. If you know where to look, you can see the signature of that engine at work: it’s why South America had wars that were fought over bird poo, why jellyfish appear at night, and why plastic collects in the middle of the Pacific ocean rather than the edges.

This talk will dive into the real beauty of this blue engine: under the surface. Humans have been scooting about on the surface for centuries. It’s time to look properly at what’s been carrying us for all of that time.

This event will take place in the Cathedral library and include a visit to the Cathedral where artist Luke Jerram's spectacular and beautiful installation Gaia will be on display from 11 - 30 October. (Ticket cost to see Gaia at night normally £5.00).

Helen Czerski is a physicist, first and foremost, but she's acquired a few other labels along the way: oceanographer, broadcaster, author and bubble enthusiast. Her academic home is the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University College London, where she studies the physics of ocean bubbles, particularly the ones underneath breaking waves

Photograph of Helen courtesy of Alex Brenner.

Gaia by Luke Jerram

Measuring seven metres in diameter, Gaia features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface*. The artwork provides the opportunity to see our planet on this scale, floating in three-dimensions.

The installation creates a sense of the Overview Effect, which was first described by author Frank White in 1987. Common features of the experience for astronauts are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.

The artwork also acts as a mirror to major events in society. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the artwork may provide the viewer with a new perspective of our place on the planet; a sense that societies of the Earth are all interconnected and that we have a responsibility toward one another. After the lockdown, there has been a renewed respect for nature.

A specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning Composer Dan Jones is played alongside the sculpture. In Greek Mythology Gaia is the personification of the Earth.