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NASA Scientist to Kick Off Physics Colloquium Series

Speaker Will Discuss Space Telescope, Applying for Jobs at NASA

UMass Lowell Image
This NASA illustration shows what the James Webb Space Telescope will look like once it’s deployed in orbit.

By Edwin L. Aguirre

The Physics Department will kick off its Physics Colloquium series this semester with a talk by a distinguished NASA researcher on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 4 p.m. in Room 218 in Olney Hall.

The series offers students, faculty, staff and the general public a chance to hear invited speakers talk about topics of interest to the community.

Jonathan Gardner, Ph.D., chief of the Laboratory for Observational Cosmology at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., will discuss the status of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is scheduled for launch in 2018. JWST will replace the aging Hubble Space Telescope as the leading instrument for exploring the universe at infrared wavelengths. It features a primary mirror that measures 6.5 meters in diameter.

An expert on galaxy evolution and dark energy, Gardner received his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in astronomy and astrophysics from Harvard University in 1986, and his master’s and doctorate in astronomy from the University of Hawaii in 1988 and 1992, respectively. He currently serves as deputy senior project scientist for the JWST program.

In addition to his colloquium talk, Gardner will present a special seminar on “How to Get a Job at NASA” at both 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Room 200 in Pinanski Hall. Students are welcome to attend.

Lectures in the Physics Colloquium series, which is coordinated by UMass Lowell physics Prof. Supriya Chakrabarti, are usually held on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. in Room 218 in Olney. Refreshments are served at 3:30 p.m. The following is a list of topics and speakers for the rest of the semester:

  • Feb. 13: “High-Power THz Field Generation, Detection and Its Application” with Gargi Sharma, Ph.D., National Institute of Scientific Research (Quebec)
  • Feb. 20: “Early Science Results from the NASA Van Allen Probes Mission” with Prof. Harlan Spence, University of New Hampshire
  • Feb. 27: “Spectroscopy and Imaging with Terahertz Quantum Cascade Lasers” with Prof. Heinz-Wilhelm Hubers, Technische Universitat (Berlin, Germany)
  • March 20: TBA with Prof. Charles Lin, Mass General Hospital/Harvard School of Medicine
  • March 27: “Following Fission Fragments: A Nuclear Database and Up Approach to Decay Heat and Daya Bay Antineutrinos” with Elizabeth McCutchan, Ph.D., Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • April 10: TBA with Prof. Jeffrey Blackmon, Louisiana State University
  • April 24: “Photon-Counting Laser Radar Development at MIT Lincoln Laboratory” with Dale Fried, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

For more information, contact or 978-934-3287.