2017 Jo Cline Memorial Astronomy Lecture
Cline Observatory, GTCC
The History of the Universe from the Beginning to the End: Where Did We Come from, Where Can We Go?
A free public lecture by Dr. John Mather, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Friday, 22 September 2017, 7:30 p.m.,
Koury Auditorium, GTCC, Jamestown
Cline Observatory will be open after the talk, weather permitting
GTCC is excited to announce that the 2017 Jo Cline Memorial Lecture will be given by 2006 Physics Nobel Laureate, John Mather, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Dr. Mather is the project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope.
About the Talk: Where did we come from, and where are we going? I will outline the history of the universe from its early moments in the Big Bang, to the possible end. Our history is full of beneficial catastrophes, and we wouldn’t be here without them: stars explode, the Moon is formed in a giant collision with the Earth, the Earth is bombarded by asteroids and comets for hundreds of millions of years, and multiple extinction events through hot, cold, poison, and asteroid impacts cause rapid evolution of life. But here we are, our ancestors survived and thrived through it all. Now, we can tell the story, we can look for more details, and we can begin to adventure through the solar system and eventually beyond, in partnership with a new entity, artificial intelligence coupled with robotics. Scientific discovery has been propelled by competition (including war) for thousands of years, so it’s immensely important to public policy. I will illustrate with examples from NASA, including our measurements of the Big Bang, discoveries with the Hubble, and future telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope (planned for 2018 launch) and beyond. Within a few decades, we may know that life is common in the universe, or perhaps not.
About the Speaker: Dr. John C. Mather is a Senior Astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. His research centers on infrared astronomy and cosmology. As an NRC postdoctoral fellow at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (New York City), he led the proposal efforts for the Cosmic Background Explorer (74-76), and came to GSFC to be the Study Scientist (76-88), Project Scientist (88-98), and also the Principal Investigator for the Far IR Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) on COBE. He showed that the cosmic microwave background radiation has a blackbody spectrum within 50 ppm. As Senior Project Scientist (95-present) for the James Webb Space Telescope, he leads the science team, and represents scientific interests within the project management. He has served on advisory and working groups for the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, and the NSF (for the ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, and for the CARA, the Center for Astrophysical Research in the Antarctic). He has received many awards including the Nobel Prize in Physics, 2006, for his precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation using the COBE satellite.
Fall Astronomy Day Lecture Directions
If you have any questions please contact Tom English – 336-334-4822 x50023
The Cline Observatory Astronomy Day Lecture is held each fall, featuring a prominent researcher in astronomy, astrophysics, or planetary science. Follow this link to see a list of Past Lecturers.
North Carolina Astronomers’ Meeting (NCAM)
Cline Observatory also hosts the annual technical meeting of NC astronomers in association with Fall Astronomy Day. This event is open to professional astronomers and their students. This year’s edition of NCAM will be held on Saturday, 23 September 2017.