IAA PUBLIC LECTURE, Wed, 18 October, by Richard Goodrich

Fear and Loathing in the Heavens: The 1910 Return of Halley’s Comet”

SYNOPSIS: In 1705, Edmond Halley liberated humanity from the belief that comets were portents of doom; two centuries later, in 1910, as Halley’s Comet returned to perihelion, newspapers and magazines, religious leaders, misguided theorists, and shameless grifters managed to rekindle that fear. When astronomers announced that the earth would pass through the comet’s tail, opportunists exploited human anxiety—often with fatal consequences.

  Richard Goodrich, author of Comet Madness: How the 1910 Return of Halley’s Comet (almost) Destroyed Civilization, will give us an entertaining lecture about the comet’s 1910 return and the reasons that many believed the earth would not survive the encounter.


Richard J. Goodrich (Ph.D., University of St Andrews) is an author and historian. After twenty years teaching in British and US universities, Richard resigned his position to pursue a full-time writing career. His interests range from Ancient History (the Roman Empire and early Church history) to the modern age. Comet Madness, Richard’s first foray into popular history is available from Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith, and other fine bookstores. Learn more about Richard and his work at his website: https://RichardJGoodrich.com.

Larmor Lecture Theatre, Physics building, Queen’s University Belfast, 7.30 p.m.

Admission free, including light refreshments. All welcome.

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