Friday, March 23, 2007

Free Lecture Series To Explore Most Violent Places In The Universe

This is the announcement made to all the employees here, but there's no reason why it shouldn't be advertised more widely. So here it is:

Nine free lectures at The University of Chicago will explore how black holes, remnants of exploded stars and other exotic celestial objects emit streams of powerful gamma rays.

“The Quest for Gamma Rays: Exploring the Most Violent Places in the Universe” is the title of this year's Arthur Holly Compton Lectures, sponsored each spring and fall by the university's Enrico Fermi Institute. The 65th series of these public lectures will begin Saturday, March 24, and will be held each Saturday through June 2, except for April 21 and May 26, when there will be no lectures. The lectures will be given from 11 a.m. to noon in Room 106 of the Kersten Physics Teaching Center, 5720 S. Ellis Ave.

Compton Lectures are intended to make science accessible to a general audience and to convey the excitement of new discoveries in the physical sciences. Delivering the lectures this spring will be Elizabeth Hays, research associate in the Fermi Institute and at Argonne.

Among her topics, Hays will discuss the work of VERITAS (Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System). An array of four telescopes at Kitt Peak in southern Ariozna, VERITAS is one of the most sensitive high-energy gamma-ray observatories in the world.

The Compton Lectures are named for Arthur Holly Compton. A former physicist at the university, Compton is best known for demonstrating that light has the characteristics of both a wave and a particle. He organized the effort to produce plutonium for the atomic bomb and directed the Metallurgical Laboratory at The University of Chicago, where Fermi and his colleagues produced the first controlled, nuclear chain reaction in 1942.

For more information about the lecture series, call (773) 702-7823.

I know Liz Hays well and this would be an amazing series of lectures. So don't miss it if you can!


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