Roy Gunson

Location: Barnsley, South Yorkshire
About me...

Born 1950. Retired in 2011 after 32 years at Sheffield Hallam University, prior working in various Research Associations. Been an amateur astronomer since age 10 or so. Interested in History, a recreational wargamer and an interest in genealogy and history. Have been giving talks on Astronomy and associated historical topics since retirement. Currently Vice-Chair of Mexborough & Swinton Astronomical Society.

About my Talks...

My Talks are powerpoint presentations – I normally find that the venues where I’ve spoken have most of their own equipment so please discuss with me what equipment you will expect me to bring.

I try and time the talks to be about 1 hour in length (before the Q&A session).


My fee is  £40 plus expenses (negotiable, to be discussed and agreed at the time of booking).

My Contact Details:

01709 892226

The First Astrophotographer

John William Draper – born in St Helen’s, Lancashire, son of a Methodist preacher – was the man who took the first photograph of the moon, and the was also thought to have taken the first portrait photograph of a person. Was the first to photograph the sun in ultra-violet and infra-red. Founder of the New York University School of Medicine. First president of the American Chemical Society. Was entangled in the great evolution debate over Darwin’s publications.


Venus - Earth's Evil Twin.

An in depth look at the Earth’s evil twin, our nearest planetary neighbour. We look at a “day or two on Venus”, it’s atmosphere, magnetic field, and surface geology. We discover it’s “Ticks” and “Pancakes” and is there a sea of liquid gas at 750 degrees Kelvin?


Shakespeare's Astronomy and the Mystery of Hamlet

Shakespearian times were troubled in the field of Astronomy, the view of an Earth centred planetary system and Universe was changing to one centrered on the Sun. What is the connection with C17th cosmology and Hamlet – is there a secret dialogue hidden in the play?

The Bandit King of Brazil

Seen as a mixture of hero and bandit, Lampião (Virgulino Ferreira da Silva) became one of the most representative icons of Brazil. His image is still seen all over Brazil, in Art, Music and Film some 80 years after his death. The backlands of North-Eastern Brazil had little in the way of law and order, even the few police in existence were usually in the pocket of a local “Colonel” – a leading landowner who was also a regional political chief. The poor badly treated by the paramilitary police would often prefer the presence of bandits over that of the police.

Pickering's Harem

Williamina Flemming – abandoned by her new husband just months after arriving in Boston, USA from Dundee. Pregnant and alone she rose to become one of the most famed female astronomers of the early 20th century . Her story plus those of a host of other female astronomers hired by Charles Edward Pickering between 1880 and 1919 to work at the Harvard College Observatory gives a remarkable insight on the determination by these women to succeed.

The Uncertainty of Mr Heisenberg

The life and times of Werner Heisenberg. His early life, his family, the development of Quantum Theory with Niels Bohr and his uncertainty theory. Involvement with the National Socialists and his involvement in the German atom bomb project. His capture by the allies and life after the war.

Watching Mars

Humans have been observing Mars for thousands of years, It’s always had a element of mystery. At times the fourth brightest object in the night sky, only Venus, The Moon and the Sun surpassing it. Long associated with “”The God of War”, and those pesky invading Tripods. I attempt to cover the history of our observations and ideas on the red planet.

Maria Mitchell (An American Astronomical Pioneer)

Maria Mitchell was born on August 1, 1818, in Nantucket, Massachusetts into a quaker family. Worked as a librarian for many years. Rose to fame as the first American to discover a telescopic comet. Even though having no formal university education, she became Professor of Astronomy at Vasser College, one of the foremost women’s colleges in the USA. Was an early advocate for women’s rights in the USA, threatening to “go on strike” from her professorship over equal pay!.

Roy Gunson Contact Details:

01709 892226

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