Dr Simon Cuthbert, University of the West of Scotland
Venus, the familiar bright jewel of the morning and evening skies and our nearest planetary neighbour, should be the most Earth-like of the other terrestrial planets, but how much like our own world is it in reality? This presentation explores the current state of knowledge and will, indeed, reveal many familiar features. However, there is much about Venus that is very strange and decidedly hostile. Venus’s brilliant white veil hides a bizarre, scorched volcanic landscape. Its dense, roasting atmosphere makes exploration much more difficult than on other planets, so mysteries abound: Does (or did) plate tectonics operate on Venus? What happened to all the water? Why are there metal-coated mountain-tops? Was Venus ever really Earth-like, and could humans ever visit, or even live there? We’ll take a peek under the veil and glimpse the real face of Venus.
Simon is a geoscientist with over 30 years of academic and industrial experience. His research interests include precious metals exploration; characterisation of industrial wastes; water quality in mining, oil and gas extraction; mineral carbon capture systems; intramontane sedimentary basin evolution in the north Atlantic region, and tectonic processes in Himalaya-style mountain-belts. His teaching includes Earth systems science, water quality, Earth resources, environmental technologies, geographical information systems and forensic science. External activities include promotion and protection of geodiversity in Scotland, and public communication of the geological and environmental sciences. He is a member of the Council of the Geological Society of Glasgow and was Hon. Secretary until December 2016.