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Dr Carolyn Atkins, STFC UK Astronomy Technology Centre, gave a MAPP Lecture on Wednesday 11th May, via Google Meet.

The lecture 'Additive manufacture & astronomical instrumentation: down the rabbit hole,' looked at the role of additive manufacture within this domain, the significant advantages it can offer (mass reduction, part consolidation), but also the challenges it must first overcome (heritage, trained engineers and material consistency).

To facilitate the discussion, the case study of lightweight mirrors was presented explaining how additive manufacture can be used to create lighter and more rigid mirrors, but also some of the specific challenges that have been encountered to date, porosity and working with near net shapes.

Dr Atkins, Research Scientist at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) in Edinburgh was awarded a Future Leaders Fellowship (FLF) in 2020. The programme, from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), supports the next generation of talented people in their field. Carolyn’s research is focused on methods to 3D-print lightweight mirrors for telescopes in space – when weight and volume limits are critical.

A recording of the lecture can be viewed below.

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