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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2011  /  February 2011  /  From Hollywood to the Carbon Cycle

From Hollywood to the Carbon Cycle

Mat Disney’s Durham seminar on savannah fire effects

From Hollywood to the Carbon Cycle

Dr Mat Disney was invited to speak at the Ecology Seminar series at the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Durham University on 31st January. He presented a talk on A photon's eye view of vegetation: from Hollywood to the carbon cycle. This explained how techniques developed originally for understanding nuclear reactions during the Manhattan project have been adapted, not only to enable photo-realistic CGI movie-making for the likes of Pixar, but also to understand how sunlight interacts with vegetation.

Mat showed applications of this approach to understanding the effects of fire on savannah ecosystems in Southern Africa, and explained how we can measure these effects from satellites.


A series of panoramic images acquired over 60 minutes (top to bottom) showing the progress of a controlled fire in Kruger National Park, South Africa, October 2008. Images courtesy of Ewan Shilland.