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Leading space law expert to deliver a keynote speech at international science festival

Press Release   •   Mar 28, 2018 16:50 BST

Professor Christopher Newman from Northumbria Law School

A leading academic in space law from Northumbria University has been named as a keynote speaker at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, one of the sector’s most influential and anticipated gatherings of experts.

Professor Christopher Newman from Northumbria Law School is one of the UK and Europe’s leading experts in space law and policy. He leads a field of experts examining fictional and theory-based topics including space law, ethics and ownership of the moon. His work also involves examining Government’s recent UK Space Legislation Act which came into force on 15March.

With the recent passing of world famous physicist, Professor Stephen Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA, the two-week science festival in Edinburgh is expected to attract heightened media attention worldwide when it takes place from 31 March – 15 April 2018.

Professor Newman, along with specialist space lawyer, Joanne Wheeler, will host a 90 minute talk entitled ‘Space Outlaw’ which will examine the relationship between law and space ethics as well as wider theories surrounding the Universe and life itself. They will also examine space exploration theories never discussed publicly, as well as the legal issues that may influence them.

Professor Newman commented, “The event is for everyone from leading panelists and academics to members of the public who simply have an interest in space and the universe around us. We are aiming to open our industry up to everyone and encourage people of all ages to examine the many mysteries that still exist, and certainly over recent years, the likes of the late Professor Hawking and Professor Brian Cox have done a great job doing so and engaging a much wider and younger audience.

“Science, especially space exploration, is a very thought provoking subject as it opens up a plethora of avenues in terms of celebrated works that we have come to know and understand, as well as new scientific theories examining what the future may hold. Of course, everyone has their own opinion which again lends itself to fantastic conversations and discussions so we are expecting a great number of people to come along and take part.”

This year’s event will be exploring the theme of ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ and will contemplate the diversity of life in all forms on Earth and beyond. Now in its 30th year, the Edinburgh International Science Festival also supports a wider STEM curriculum, in particular, how science, technology, engineering and mathematics can help to sustain the planet in the future.

Professor Newman is actively engaged in space law research and is due to release his book ‘Frontiers of Risk’ shortly. He has been teaching space law for over ten years and is part of an internationally recognised network of academics and legal practitioners who communicate on space and policy issues.

His discussion, Space Outlaw, will take place at 5:30pm on Friday 13 April 2018 at the Edinburgh Science Festival (Red Lecture Theatre, Summerhall). More details can be found at

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