Norfolk astronomer aiming to set world record for longest lecture

Television presenter and astronomer Mark Thompson of BBC Springwatch and Good Morning Britain is attempting to break a...

Television presenter and astronomer Mark Thompson - Credit: Submitted

A television presenter and astronomer will attempt to break a Guinness World Record by talking for more than 140 hours in Norwich. 

Mark Thompson, best known for his work on BBC's Stargazing Live, is hoping to surpass the previous world record for the longest marathon lecture, which is currently 139 hours, 42 minutes and 56 seconds. 

A regular face on Good Morning Britain, Mr Thompson will be attempting the challenge in aid of Barnardo's from Saturday, September 11 at noon. 

The lecture, which is being supported by the Norwich Science Festival, is expected to finish soon after 7.43am on Friday, September 17. 

Mr Thompson himself is a patron of the festival which is set to return in October with a full-scale event at The Forum and across venues in Norfolk. 

Mark Thompson will be attempting to beat the Guinness World Record for the longest marathon lecture at the UEA 

Mark Thompson will be attempting to beat the Guinness World Record for the longest marathon lecture at the UEA - Credit: Submitted

Throughout his world record attempt, there will be a medical team to monitor Mr Thompson's progress. The rules allow him to take short breaks so he will have the opportunity for four-and-a-half hours of sleep rather than the recommended 40 over that period.

Mr Thompson said: "I’ve been wanting to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest marathon lecture ever since I gave a 24 hour talk for charity in 2015.

"It will be a real test of my endurance, pushing me to my limits but I’m particularly excited that we can do some real science with it to see how sleep deprivation impacts many aspects of our physical and mental wellbeing.

"As if the sleep deprivation wasn’t enough, I will need to try and keep my voice in tip top condition and functioning throughout the entire event.”

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The lecture is entitled 'The Ultimate Space Lecture', and will cover everything from the moon to galaxies, and the search for aliens and space exploration. 

And he has teamed up with research teams from the University of Cambridge and the University of Uppsala in Sweden to research extreme sleep deprivation. 

Professor Tristan Bekinschtein of the University of Cambridge said: "As Mark progresses through his attempt we will observe a number of changes in his ability to deliver an efficient and coherent series of lectures. We expect to map the changes in his demeanour, his speech and his appearance."

A fundraising page for the challenge in aid of Barnardo's can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mtworldrecordlecture


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