From Thomas Wright to the James Webb Space Telescope: the discovery of the galaxy, other galaxies and the history of the universe

Dr Fred Stevenson | Cosmologist

We’re very much looking forward to our November Café. The universe explained! Fred thinks this talk will lead to a good question and answer session; the big-bang theory, expanding universe etc. He’s right, our Café audience doesn’t disappoint. Come along with your questions for a night to remember.


Thomas Wright was an astronomer from Byers Green in County Durham who had the first notion of the structure of our Milky Way galaxy – this gives the talk some local interest. The talk goes on to discuss what we now know about our galaxy and the discovery by Hubble that our galaxy is not the only one and that, in fact, there are now known to be billions of them stretching into the distance as far as we can see. How far is this? Well, that’s where the remarkable JWST comes in – this new space telescope has recently obtained candidates for the farthest galaxies ever observed – the light from them taking over 13.5 billion years to reach us!

About our speaker

Fred obtained a degree in Physics with Astrophysics from the University of Leicester in 1980 followed by a PhD in Cosmology from Durham University in 1986. After further research he has spent the past 25 years teaching adult education classes in astronomy, physics and mathematics at a variety of venues throughout Northumberland, County Durham and North Yorkshire. He has organised and taught numerous weekend courses in astronomy based in the Kielder Forest Park and other venues in the North Pennines. Fred is passionate about talking to the public about astronomy and has given numerous talks to astro societies and other groups. When he is not teaching Fred can be found wandering the moors and fells of the North of England.

Our website

Our website contains a list of all the talks we have held since we were set up in January 2004 and the up and coming talks for this season. Find out more at