Upcoming Public Science Talks
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Thursday, October 6, 2016, 7pm, Wilson Hall
"The Dawn of Gravitational Wave Astronomy"
On September 14, 2015, the unique gravitational wave signature of a black hole binary merger was detected by the Advanced LIGO observatories. This marks the beginning of a completely new era of modern physics, the dawn of observational gravitational wave astrophysics. Please join us as Dr. McWilliams, a member of the science discovery team, will discuss the discovery and observations, their overall impact, and what lies ahead for this new field.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 7pm, Wilson Hall
"The First Light in the Universe"
The Planck satelliate, launched in May 2009 by the European Space Agency, has as its mission to observe the first light of the Universe. It was designed to image the temperature of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation -- the relic radiation left over after The Big Bang some 14 billion years ago -- to unprecendeted accuracy. Join us as one of the key members of the science team, Dr. Marco Bersanelli from the University of Milan in Italy, will visit JMU to tell us what we're learning about the origins of our Universe.
Dr. Marco Bersanelli
Instrument Scientist & Deputy Principal Investigator, Planck Satellite
University of Milano
Thursday, February 2, 2017, 7pm, Wilson Hall
"Searching for Our Molecular Origins"
One of the greatest scientific quests underway is that of finding life beyond Earth. Join us as Dr. Stefanie Milam, Deputy Project Scientist for Planetary Science for the James Webb Space Telescope, will discuss the latest in prebiotic searches both inside and outside of our Solar System. She also address how new facilities, like the the JWST, will help shed new light in this pursuit of understanding our cosmic origins.
Dr. Stefanie Milam
Deputy Project Scientist for Planetary Science, James Webb Space Telescope
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Thursday, April 6, 2017, 7pm, Wilson Hall
"Seeing in the Dark: Using Nature's Celestial Clocks to Discover Gravitational Waves"
Pulsars are highly magnetized, rapidly rotating stars that are formed in supernova explosions. Their radio pulses can be timed with incredibly high precision and used for a variety of fundamental physics experiments. Dr. McLaughlin will describe how observations of pulsars with the largest radio telescopes in the world are being used to search for gravitational waves from the supermassive black holes at the centers of distant galaxies. These observations are expected to result in a detection of gravitational waves within the next decade, and possibly much sooner.
Dr. Maura McLaughlin
Department of Physics & Astronomy
West Virginia University
PAST SCIENCE TALKS
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How are innate human qualities reflected in our quest to explore and comprehend the universe? Our Nation's space science endeavors have practical and sometimes hidden benefits, and can be inspiring, but fundamentally they are a manifestation of human nature, and something in which we can all take pride. Using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission as an example, I'd like to bring a space mission "down to Earth." My goals are to demystify the machines that help us answer some of the deepest questions we've thought to ask, to share the joy of scientific discovery, and to shed a bit of light on the path that lies ahead.—Dave Leisawitz