This year's week-long gathering, the 153rd, which started yesterday at the University of Southampton, is no less futuristic in outlook. Professor Heinz Wolff yesterday helped launch a series of lectures on space which will include an introduction to the geology of other planets and the opportunity to inspect genuine moon rock.
Environmental themes will also figure strongly. Today, papers will be presented on the effect of pollution and fishing techniques on dolphins and whales. Tomorrow, experts will consider the threat posed by modern agricultural techniques to hundreds of plant species on farmland.