2007 Lecture Series
Dr. Jerry Nelson
Making it Big in Astronomy
(December 19, 2007) In 1977 Jerry Nelson was physicist at UC’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and he was asked to join a group to vision the future of US astronomy. For Nelson it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to design a major apparatus with “cosmic implications.” His work translated into the revolutionary twin 10-meter Keck telescopes. Decades later, Nelson’s gift for devising solutions to large technical challenges continues to make its mark in astronomical innovation.
Science Standards: How Information is Collected and Analyzed; How a Telescope Works
Dr. Edward C. Stone
Voyager Mission: The Journey Continues
(June 22, 2007) From the “Evenings with Astronomers” series. Dr. Edward C. Stone, the David Morrisroe Professor of Physics at Caltech and one of the leading scientists of our time, has been the project scientist for the Voyager mission since 1972. As the two Voyager spacecraft flew by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, they revealed a Solar System with worlds of unimagined diversity. The Voyagers are now exploring the Solar System’s final frontier, its outermost region called the heliosphere, which, like a bubble, envelops our Sun and all the planets.
Science Standards: Describe the nature of our solar system; discuss current scientific views about our solar system; describe how technology is being used to conduct scientific investigations.
Dr. Charles Beichman
Are There Other Worlds? Modern Answers to a 2500-Year-Old Question
(May 22, 2007) From the “Evenings with Astronomers” Series. Dr. Charles Beichman of the Michelson Science Center at Caltech talks about the 21st century tools being used to answer one of the most ancient questions: “Are there other worlds like our own?” How are astronomers probing the birthplace of stars and planets? How will scientists know if a planet supports life? Dr. Beichman explains the modern search for answers.
Science Standards: Design and conduct investigations to answer questions; Use the problem-solving process to address current issues; Describe what constitutes the universe.
Dr. Michael Brown
Pluto and Other Dwarf Planets: Discoveries in our Solar System
(March 27, 2007) From the “Evenings with Astronomers” series. In 2005, Dr. Michael Brown and his colleagues discovered 2003 UB313, now officially known as “Eris.” The discovery marked the first time in 75 years that an object larger than Pluto had been found in our Solar System. The discovery turned the astronomical world on its head. Scientists had to consider if size was the only metric by which to define a planet. The debate unleashed an avalanche of questions concerning planetary science and the role scientists play in defining the word “planet” for local and global communities.
Science Standards: Earth in the Solar System; Forces that Shape the Earth; Scientific Views of the Universe.
Dr. Taft Armandroff
The Astronomical Frontier: New Opportunities for Discovery
(February 27, 2007) Dr. Taft Armandroff of the W. M. Keck Observatory kicks off the second annual “Evenings with Astronomers” lecture series. In this talk, Dr. Armandroff charts the significant technological milestones in astronomical research and describes how new technology is being applied to answer profound questions about the cosmos.
Science Standards: Scientific Inquiry; Technological Impacts; Relating the Nature of Technology to Science.
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