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Review: ‘Astrophysics for People in a Hurry’ by Neil DeGrasse Tyson … – Lincoln Journal Star

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, W.W. Norton & Company, 222 pages, $18.95

Astrophysics is a branch of science that may seem beyond the grasp of most individuals, including this humble reviewer. Fortunately, readers curious about pursuing the marvels of the cosmos have Neil DeGrasse Tyson and his predecessor, Carl Sagan, to hold our hands on the journey.

Tyson, who recently became Americas first recipient of the Stephen Hawking medal for science communication, intended Astrophysics for People in a Hurry as an introduction to his ever-evolving field. Surprisingly, the book immediately rose to No. 1 on the New York Times nonfiction best seller list.

As readers familiar with his 13-part television series, Cosmos, A Space Time Odyssey, already know, those who might feel overwhelmed by the subject matter should be reassured. Tysons feather-light approach to each ponderous topic is never intimidating.

What other scientist would bother with a reminder that Chuck Berrys music was deemed one of the diverse sounds of our planet which would be included on the Voyager space probe? Tyson even recalls the Saturday Night Live aliens response which requested us to send more Chuck Berry.

And what other author would be able to gently connect such diverse subjects as dark matter, the origin of the universe, and the infinitesimal components of quantum physics? He relates the discovery of the invisible electromagnetic spectrum to the realization that telescopes could be built to perceive wavelengths beyond those seen by the human eye. Thus the discipline of astrophysics was born.

By linking the cosmic explosion of stars to the formation of the basic chemical elements, he joins humankind to the entire inanimate universe.

Tysons book will make the reader ponder how Homo sapiens arrived upon this small blue pebble we call home and what wonders are yet to be discovered.

J. Kemper Campbell, M.D., is a retired Lincoln ophthalmologist who felt more intelligent by simply carrying this book around.

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Review: ‘Astrophysics for People in a Hurry’ by Neil DeGrasse Tyson … – Lincoln Journal Star

Penn State astrophysicist receives Dr. Richard J. and Sally Matthews Award – Penn State News

DUNMORE, Pa. Agns Kim, assistant professor of physics at Penn State Worthington Scranton (PSWS), is the recipient of the 2017 Dr. Richard J. and Sally Matthews Award for Scholarly Activity.

The award is given each year to a member of the campus faculty in recognition of his/her scholarly and research activities.

Kim is an astrophysicist whose research focuses mainly on white dwarf asteroseismology and stellar evolution.

White dwarfs are stars that have lived out their lives and shut down, she explained. They are called dwarfs because they are not much larger than the Earth. However, they still contain a mass similar to the Suns and so are compact stars.”

Kim has found that intriguing ever since she was a child.

She does her work using super computers. Recent projects have included the study of variable white dwarfs observed by the NASA satellite Kepler. From space, this telescope is able to watch stars uninterrupted for weeks on end, yielding very useful data for the study of white dwarfs.

Over the past few years, Kim has been involved in the study of the first white dwarf discovered to flare up, and is currently working on the internal rotation of the hottest-known, helium-atmosphere white dwarf.

She received her doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Texas at Austin; and her masters degree in astrophysics and bachelors degree in physics from Iowa State University.

Prior to joining the Penn State Worthington Scranton faculty in 2013, she was an associate professor of physics, physics program coordinator, and an assistant professor of physics at Georgia College and State University at Milledgeville, Georgia.

Kim has also served as an assistant academic director for the Summer Science Program in Socorro, New Mexico; a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Texas, Austin; and an adjunct professor at DeVry University, in Austin.

She is a full member of the American Astronomical Society and serves on the Undergraduate Research Committee and Diversity Council at PSWS.

Kim has been an invited speaker at professional seminars around the country and Canada, and has been published in several scientific publications, including: The Astrophysical Journal; Astronomy and Astrophysics; the American Journal of Physics; the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society; Communications In Asteroseismology; and the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

She has presented her research at international conferences held around the world, most recently at The Physics of White Dwarfs in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A native of Switzerland, she speaks English and French, and currently resides in Olyphant, Pennsylvania, with her husband.

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Penn State astrophysicist receives Dr. Richard J. and Sally Matthews Award – Penn State News

Jerry Nelson dies; astronomer who built advanced telescopes was 73 – Los Angeles Times

Jerry Nelson, an astronomer who designed advanced telescopes that help scientists glimpse far reaches of the universe, has died. He was 73.

UC Santa Cruz, where Nelson was a professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics, said he died June 10 at his home. No cause was given.

Nelsons design using dozens of segmented mirrors rather than a single large one was the basis for the Keck Observatory’s twin 10-meter telescopes on Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii. Those telescopes, among the largest in use, have allowed scientists to measure the black hole at the center of the Milky Way and to spot planetary bodies outside our solar system.

Jerrys impacts on the field of astronomy and astrophysics are legendary, and we will all benefit from his legacy for many years to come, said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories.

Nelsons concept has since been used for other large ground-based telescopes around the world. The space-based James Webb telescope, which is under construction, also has a segmented primary mirror design.

Nelson also played an important role in the development of adaptive optics technology, which sharpens the images from ground-based telescopes by correcting for the blurring effect of Earths atmosphere, the university said.

Even after a stroke in 2011 that left him partly disabled, Nelson continued work for the Thirty Meter Telescope, a project to build the largest telescope in the Northern Hemisphere.

His endless curiosity always pushed the scientists around him to think more deeply, and his persistence and continued excellence after his stroke were inspirational to everyone, said Michael Bolte, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz.

Born near Los Angeles, Nelson earned an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology and a PhD in physics at UC Berkeley, where he taught for years before moving to Santa Cruz. He also worked for more than a decade at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Nelson is survived by his wife, sister, two children from his first marriage and three grandchildren.

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Jerry Nelson dies; astronomer who built advanced telescopes was 73 – Los Angeles Times

NASA begins independent review of WFIRST mission – SpaceNews

WFIRST was the No. 1 rated large-scale mission in the 2010 decadal survey for astrophysics. Credit: NASA illustration

WASHINGTON NASA announced June 22 the selection of an independent review committee that will examine cost and schedule issues with its next flagship astronomy mission, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).

NASA said earlier this year it would establish the review committee, a recommendation of a study last year by a National Academies panel examining the progress made on implementing the 2010 astrophysics decadal survey. That panel was concerned about growing cost estimates for WFIRST and its implications for other NASA astrophysics programs.

The committee is co-chaired by Peter Michelson, the chair of the physics department at Stanford University who has worked on high-energy astrophysics missions such as Fermi; and Orlando Figueroa, a retired NASA official whose career included serving as deputy director of the Goddard Space Flight Center and director of NASAs Mars exploration program. The other members include a mix of scientists, engineers and program managers.

We are confident this review will provide the insight and confidence among key stakeholders necessary to move toward what promises to be an exciting science investigation bound to reshape our understanding of the universe, Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, said in a statement announcing the membership of the review panel.

WFIRST, the top-ranked large, or flagship, mission in the 2010 decadal, is still in its early phases of development. The mission was scheduled to enter Phase B in October, but agency officials previously said they would delay that until the completion of the independent review and implementation of any recommendations from that report.

We have paused the progress towards the systems requirements review for WFIRST, Paul Hertz, director of NASAs astrophysics division, said in a presentation June 22 to the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee. That independent review committee has already started its work, he said, including meetings with the project.

Hertz said he expected a final report from the panel in the fall. Once we have a report in hand, then NASA will incorporate the reports recommendations into our planning, possibly even impacting our design for WFIRST but certainly our plans for WFIRST, he said. That will delay the project by several months, he added.

WFIRST, an infrared telescope that will use a 2.4-meter mirror assembly provided to NASA by the National Reconnaissance Office in 2012, is currently scheduled for launch in the mid-2020s. Hertz said that schedule will depend in large part on funding the mission receives.

The earlier we can make money available, the faster they go and the earlier they launch, he said. Unfortunately, unless my budget goes up, we cant accelerate WFIRST and maintain a balanced program at the same time, so we will not be accelerating WFIRST unless we get additional funds.

Finding that balance is already a struggle for NASAs astrophysics program. NASA requested $90 million for WFIRST in its fiscal year 2017 budget request, but the final appropriations bill passed by Congress in early May provides $105 million for the mission. Hubble and SOFIA also received slight increases, as did a mirror technology program not in the agencys request.

However, the overall astrophysics program received $31 million less than the original request. Taking into account those increases specified for WFIRST and other programs, the rest of the astrophysics division is facing a cut of $47.4 million, or about 11 percent.

Hertz said NASA has submitted an operating plan to Congress that addresses those cuts, but since the plan has yet to be approved he could not discuss its details. Complicating matters, he said, is the fact there is now only a little more than three months left in the fiscal year to incorporate those changes.

The places where we would like to accommodate this reduction we have slowed down our spending on, so that if Congress approves our operating plan, we can actually execute the operating plan we submitted, he said. If they tell us that its unacceptable to slow down on the things that we identified, and they tell us to slow down on something else, then its going to be challenging.

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NASA begins independent review of WFIRST mission – SpaceNews

Jerry Nelson, astronomer who built advanced telescopes, dies – Monterey County Herald

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) Jerry Nelson, an astronomer who designed advanced telescopes that help scientists glimpse far reaches of the universe, has died in California. He was 73.

The University of California, Santa Cruz, where Nelson was a professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics, said he died June 10 at his home. No cause was given.

Nelson’s design using dozens of segmented mirrors rather than a single large one was the basis for the Keck Observatory’s twin 10-meter telescopes on Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii. Those telescopes, among the largest in use, have allowed scientists to measure the black hole at the center of the Milky Way and to spot planetary bodies outside our solar system.

“Jerry’s impacts on the field of astronomy and astrophysics are legendary, and we will all benefit from his legacy for many years to come,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories.

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Nelson’s concept has since been used for other large ground-based telescopes around the world. The space-based James Webb telescope, which is under construction, also has a segmented primary mirror design.

Nelson also played an important role in the development of adaptive optics technology, which sharpens the images from ground-based telescopes by correcting for the blurring effect of Earth’s atmosphere, the university said.

Even after a stroke in 2011 that left him partly disabled, Nelson continued work for the Thirty Meter Telescope, a project to build the largest telescope in the Northern Hemisphere.

“His endless curiosity always pushed the scientists around him to think more deeply, and his persistence and continued excellence after his stroke were inspirational to everyone,” said Michael Bolte, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz.

Born near Los Angeles, Nelson earned an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in physics at UC Berkeley, where he taught for years before moving to Santa Cruz. He also worked for more than a decade at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Nelson is survived by his wife, sister, two children from his first marriage and three grandchildren. His first wife died in 1992.

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Jerry Nelson, astronomer who built advanced telescopes, dies – Monterey County Herald

Santa Cruz astronomer Jerry Nelson dies – KSBW The Central Coast

SANTA CRUZ, Calif.

Jerry Nelson, an astronomer who designed advanced telescopes that help scientists glimpse far reaches of the universe, died in his Santa Cruz home. He was 73.

The University of California, Santa Cruz, where Nelson was a professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics, said he died June 10. No cause of death was given.

Nelson’s design using dozens of segmented mirrors rather than a single large one was the basis for the Keck Observatory’s twin 10-meter telescopes on Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii. Those telescopes, among the largest in use, have allowed scientists to measure the black hole at the center of the Milky Way and to spot planetary bodies outside our solar system.

“Jerry’s impacts on the field of astronomy and astrophysics are legendary, and we will all benefit from his legacy for many years to come,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories.

Nelson’s concept has since been used for other large ground-based telescopes around the world. The space-based James Webb telescope, which is under construction, also has a segmented primary mirror design.

Nelson also played an important role in the development of adaptive optics technology, which sharpens the images from ground-based telescopes by correcting for the blurring effect of Earth’s atmosphere, the university said.

Even after a stroke in 2011 that left him partly disabled, Nelson continued work for the Thirty Meter Telescope, a project to build the largest telescope in the Northern Hemisphere.

“His endless curiosity always pushed the scientists around him to think more deeply, and his persistence and continued excellence after his stroke were inspirational to everyone,” said Michael Bolte, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz.

Born near Los Angeles, Nelson earned an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in physics at UC Berkeley, where he taught for years before moving to Santa Cruz. He also worked for more than a decade at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Nelson is survived by his wife, sister, two children and three grandchildren. His first wife died in 1992.

UC Santa Cruz issued the following press release:

“Jerry Nelson, a pioneering astronomer known for his innovative designs for advanced telescopes, died June 10.

A professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, Nelson was project scientist for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) and had served as project scientist for the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii from 1985 through 2012.

Nelson conceived the revolutionary segmented mirror design of the Keck Observatory’s twin 10-meter telescopes, and he developed new techniques to fabricate and control the mirror segments. Each telescope has an array of 36 hexagonal segments, precisely aligned to act as a single reflective surface. This design has since been used for other large ground-based telescopes, and the next-generation James Webb Space Telescope also has a segmented primary mirror design.

Nelson also played an important role in the development of adaptive optics technology, which sharpens the images from ground-based telescopes by correcting for the blurring effect of Earth’s atmosphere.

As founding director of the Center for Adaptive Optics, a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center based at UC Santa Cruz, Nelson helped pioneer the use of adaptive optics in astronomy.

Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and the Bachman Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UCSC, said Nelson was a renowned figure in the international astronomy community. “Jerry’s impacts on the field of astronomy and astrophysics are legendary, and we will all benefit from his legacy for many years to come. He was a wonderful colleague and mentor to many of us,” she said.

Much of Nelson’s early research was in the area of high-energy physics and astrophysics. He analyzed the results of particle accelerator experiments and studied high-energy astrophysical phenomena such as pulsars using innovative astronomical instruments of his own design.

Nelson presented the concepts that led to segmented-mirror telescopes in a series of papers and technical reports starting in 1977, often working with UC colleagues Terry Mast and Gary Chanan. The largest telescopes at that time had been fashioned by polishing a single glass “blank” to the requisite precision of a small fraction of the wavelength of visible light. In order to maintain that surface, the polished mirrors had to be very thick and were therefore heavy, which was a problem for larger mirrors. Nelson’s idea was to create a single, high-precision optical surface by supporting individual hexagonal mirrors in a close-packed honeycomb configuration. Making this concept a reality required a series of innovative ideas for fabrication, measurement, and control of the mirror segments.

Nearly twice the diameter and four times the light-gathering capacity of the previous largest ground-based telescopes, the twin Keck Telescopes had an enormous impact on astronomy and astrophysics research.

“The segmented-mirror design will be seen as one of the major turning points in telescope technology and one that opened the path to much larger telescopes on the ground and in space in the coming decades,” said Michael Bolte, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. Bolte, who serves on the TMT Board of Directors, said the TMT’s 30-meter primary mirror design is essentially a scaled up version of the Keck primary mirrors.

After suffering a stroke in 2011, Nelson coped with significant physical limitations but remained deeply engaged in TMT design work. “He was a wonderful colleague. His endless curiosity always pushed the scientists around him to think more deeply, and his persistence and continued excellence after his stroke were inspirational to everyone,” Bolte said.

A symposium to honor Nelson was already planned for July 13 and 14 in Santa Cruz, featuring talks by many of the eminent astronomers who worked with him over the years. The gathering will now serve as a memorial celebration of his life, Bolte said.”

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Santa Cruz astronomer Jerry Nelson dies – KSBW The Central Coast

Simon Lane | Yogscast Wiki | Fandom powered by Wikia

Cleanup Required

The testificates are off on their lunch break and it’s up to you to clean up their mess! This article is a bit disorganised or messy. The testificates would love it if you can edit this page to make it better.

Simon Charles Lane

Honeydew, Honeybeard, Derek Smart, Alejandew

2008 (Co-Founder)

Yes

YouTube Content Producer at Yogscast Ltd, Creative Director at Yogscast Ltd

“See ya later, Shitlord(s)!”

“See ya later, Shitlord(s)!”

Simon Lane, under the username Honeydew, is a founding member of the Yogscast, and runs the main Yogscast YouTube channel with Lewis Brindley. He is known for playing a dwarf in any situation he can. He is renowned for being a strongman, entertainer, astronaut and a budding musician.

Lewis and Simon have uploaded an enormous variety of content, such as Minecraft adventure maps and mini-games, Garry’s Mod, indie games, and many collaborations. Some of Lewis and Simon’s most popular Minecraft series include YogLabs, Jaffa Factory, JaffaQuest, Hole Diggers, Deep Space Mine, Lucky Block Challenge, and of course, Shadow of Israphel. When playing Minecraft he has a fondness of pigs, Jaffa Cakes, fire and things that explode.

Simon is the creative force behind The Yogscast, known as the singer of “Diggy Diggy Hole” and “The Man of a Thousand Voices, all of which sound oddly similar”. Simons charm, wit and endearing silliness are unmatched. Simon is the best! He is the co-founder of the Yogscast.

Simon has, on rare occasions, managed to hijack the BlueXephos channel on YouTube, enabling him to post content in which he is the central character. This content tends to be superficially innocent and light, but upon closer examination reveals a twisted, diabolical malevolence and passive aggressive Machiavellian instinct that can only mean Simon’s ultimate goal for the Yogscast is total world domination. These videos generally fall into two basic yet far-reaching categories, which are: Simon Sings, and Simon Plays. Oh, and let’s not forget that “Pooping Butt” video. The Simon Playsseries are simple Let’s Play videos of various computer/console games such as Portal 2;[1] occasionally voiced in character, with a narrative thread roughly maintained throughout the video. The Simon’s Songs series of videos is a collection of brief musical interludes wherein Simon does his best vocal impersonation of a cat being used to clean a rug. These videos demonstrate Simon’s mind at work, as he eventually arrives at the perfect understanding of the two key critical lyrical elements that have defined success for one of his favourite musical artists, Parry Grip, culminating in what is bound to be one of the top music videos of 2011, Elephant Having A Wank. The actual category the video will fall into, best or worst of 2011, is still in doubt.

Simon took a hiatus from the Yogscast in March 2015, with a video explaining his sudden absence relating it to unspecified medical issues tied into an unexpected visit to the hospital. Although he was released from the hospital a few weeks later, it was claimed that he wanted to take some time off in order to recover before returning to actively working on video content. A further passing mention in a Yogscast vlog in June simply said that he was getting better, and that his friends hoped he would be fully recovered soon. Simon returned to making YouTube videos on September 25 where he made his first appearance in 6 months in Trials Of Skobbels Episode 1.[2] Despite returning to several series on the main channel, he had a diminished involvement with Yogscast projects during his recuperation throughout 2016. He then went on another hiatus in March 2017, returning on the 9th of June on the stream.

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Jerry Nelson, astronomer who built advanced telescopes, dies – WTOP

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) Jerry Nelson, an astronomer who designed advanced telescopes that help scientists glimpse far reaches of the universe, has died in California. He was 73.

The University of California, Santa Cruz, where Nelson was a professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics, said he died June 10 at his home. No cause was given.

Nelsons design using dozens of segmented mirrors rather than a single large one was the basis for the Keck Observatorys twin 10-meter telescopes on Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii. Those telescopes, among the largest in use, have allowed scientists to measure the black hole at the center of the Milky Way and to spot planetary bodies outside our solar system.

Jerrys impacts on the field of astronomy and astrophysics are legendary, and we will all benefit from his legacy for many years to come, said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories.

Nelsons concept has since been used for other large ground-based telescopes around the world. The space-based James Webb telescope, which is under construction, also has a segmented primary mirror design.

Nelson also played an important role in the development of adaptive optics technology, which sharpens the images from ground-based telescopes by correcting for the blurring effect of Earths atmosphere, the university said.

Even after a stroke in 2011 that left him partly disabled, Nelson continued work for the Thirty Meter Telescope, a project to build the largest telescope in the Northern Hemisphere.

His endless curiosity always pushed the scientists around him to think more deeply, and his persistence and continued excellence after his stroke were inspirational to everyone, said Michael Bolte, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz.

Born near Los Angeles, Nelson earned an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in physics at UC Berkeley, where he taught for years before moving to Santa Cruz. He also worked for more than a decade at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Nelson is survived by his wife, sister, two children from his first marriage and three grandchildren. His first wife died in 1992.

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Jerry Nelson, astronomer who built advanced telescopes, dies – WTOP

A passion for Physics can find global applications at UQ – Asian Correspondent

Do you have a passion for how things work and enjoy scientific experiments? Do you want to learn more with one of the most innovative physics research groups in Australia?

Head of the University of Queenslands School of Mathematics and Physics, Professor Joseph Grotowski, said the School welcomes students from around the planet, all of whom seem to be attracted by its friendly, safe reputation and world-class teaching, research and facilities.

People love to study physics because its interesting; it can be used in all walks of life, and helps us to understand how the world works, he said.

As a global top-tier research institution, the University of Queensland (UQ) recently moved higher in the influential QS World University Rankings, coming in at 47th globally. As such, UQ has placed well inside the top one percent of the worlds 26,000 universities. UQ is committed to providing students with a world-class education.

The University has about 40 physics academic and research staff and 60 research postgraduate students, who have an annual research income of several million dollars, and are involved in national research centres in quantum computers, quantum systems, astrophysics and hypersonics.

Source: University of Queensland

These academics and students collaborate on international projects to benefit humanity.

For example, Dr Ebinazar Namdas, is leading a lighting technology research project with Indian agencies to develop organic semiconductors.

The project will enable children from remote communities to study at night and also potentially cut electricity costs for consumers and develop the next generation of photo sensors for digital cameras.

UQ physicist Dr Magdalena Zychs research was recently used by Italian physicists to test Einsteins equivalence principle, which plays a vital role in physicists understanding of gravity and space-time.

This work could lead to the development of new sensors with applications in studying volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, in searching for mineral deposits, in navigating Earth and space, and in high-precision measurements of time frequency and acceleration.

Professor Grotowski said UQ students had excellent career prospects because they graduated with analytical and problem-solving skills sought by employers in the public and private sectors round the world.

Our graduates are working in fields as diverse as education, engineering, computing, management, government research, University teaching and the health and medical sector, he said.

Astrophysics graduate Dr Sarah Sweet studied physics at UQ because it was the only university in Queensland to offer postgraduate astrophysics.

Image of gravitational waves generated by a binary black hole system. Source: University of Queensland

It is well-regarded for example, its Excellence in Research Australia assessment equals some of the top institutions globally, she said.

Professor Grotowski said UQs School of Mathematics and Physics offers a large range of study and research opportunities at undergraduate, Honours, postgraduate coursework, and postgraduate research levels, including:

Learn more about program offerings and discover some recent physics graduates here.

UQ also has a long history of looking after its international student community, Professor Grotowski said.

Choosing to fly across the worldleaving your family, friends and familiar spaces to attend university in a different countryis not the easiest decision.

We understand these factors, and we work hard to make sure our students know they have made the right decision when they study with us.

UQ provides English assistance, help with finding accommodation, make friends and cope with learning.

The University also has international student advisors who can answer any questions or worries you may have.

Information about application procedures can be found at:future-students.uq.edu.au/apply.

More information about UQ for international students, including the study environment, links to estimated living costs, refund policies, support services, information for students with families, and your legal rights as an international student can be found at: future-students.uq.edu.au.

Follow UQ on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo, Flickr and LinkedIn

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A passion for Physics can find global applications at UQ – Asian Correspondent

Where Did We Come from or Does God Exist?; Astrophysics for people in a Hurry. – UKZAMBIANS

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D

Professor of Sociology

Neil deGrasse Tyson,, Astrophysics for people in a Hurry, New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2017, 222 pp, Hardcover, K174.35 ($18.95).

Introduction

When I was a child living at Chipewa Village in the late 1950s in Lundazi District in Eastern Zambia in Southern Africa, we were loudly playing childrens games including hide and seek. I was jumping and running around in the evening after supper with other children in the open village square. Adults congregated in front of houses and chatted around with household family members getting ready to go to bed. Suddenly from nowhere a massive very bright light descended directly on top of the village momentarily making everything look as bright as day light. Suddenly the light went off and it was dark again. We all screamed running in different directions to our various homes. Out of breath my cousins and I asked my grandparents what that scary bright light was. My grandmother calmly replied that it was the wretched work of witches in the night.

Early Morning glow of beautiful sunrise before landing at Kenneth Kaunda international Airport in Lusaka. Who created the Universe, the sun and indirectly the plane?

Neil deGrasse Tyson Astrophysics for people in a Hurry, reminded me of this incident that I never witnessed again in my life. But I might have seen again and again but more on this later. In the village I attended Sub A or Grade One at Boyole Primary School. The very first religious knowledge class taught me about God, the origin of humans and the crucial role of Adam and Eve in the fate of all humanity. Ten years later in Form 4 in 1970 at Chizongwe Secondary School in Chipata, I was to learn about Sir Isaac Newtons Law of Gravity (1642-1726) in physics in my Physical Science classes practicing the formula. Although in 1915 Albert Einsteins discovered the very influential Theory of Relativity, I dont remember it being in our physics textbook yet in 1970. How is all this related to Tysons just published new book Astrophysics for people in a Hurry? How is this related to whether God exists?

The Big Bang

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in the very first sentence of his book reminiscent of the Bible says: In the beginning, nearly fourteen billion years ago, all space and all the matter and all the energy of the known universe was contained in a volume less than one-trillionth the size of the period (full stop) that ends this sentence. (p.17) What!!?? was my reaction after I read the first sentence. Then there was the Big Bang. I could not stop reading until I finished the 208 pages because I wanted my curiosity satisfied and so many of my own questions answered.

The moon in the night sky when I am in the village.

Tyson goes on to describe the origin of the known Universe, distant galaxies, the famous Milky Way, stars, our solar system, matter, energy, and how the Earth may have become the only known habitable planet in the solar system. Tyson describes photons, atoms, molecules, constants, conservation laws, speed of light, the mystery of dark matter, cosmic distances; all without using any of the sophisticated mathematical formulas in physics. Thats why the book is for the lay person because even a non-Astrophysicist like me with some physics knowledge from secondary school was able to read and understand it.

Does God Exist?

What invokes questions in the book about whether God exists is the sheer unimaginable monumental events that have happened over 13 billion years and will continue to happen going into the future. All of them are said to be still happening now as you read this or have happened by chance since 13 billion years ago. For example, the orbit along which our mother earth rotates around the massive hot sun happens to be just further enough from the sun that we do not burn but instead have incredible forms of life from tiny bacteria, insects, and trees to humans, elephants and to one time humongous dinosaurs. The suns energy through photosynthesis creates

Enjoying the warm of fire in the village. What is fire and how is it related to the speed of light?

oxygen through plants. We humans and many other of the earths creatures need oxygen to live. No other planets, at least in our solar system, have these qualities that support so much life. Had our Earth been nudged just a little further away from the sun in our orbit several billion years after the Big Bag, the earth would be too cold to support our life.

Think of Your Origins

If you are a Zambian living in the village, Lusaka, Kabompo, Gwembe Valley, and Livingstone and where ever you are perhaps in the diaspora, once you have eaten nshima with good relish, you are not necessarily rich, but you are comfortable, life seems good, shouldnt you take a moment to think: What was there before the Big Bang? Where did I come from? Why? What is Earth? How big is the Universe? What about the moon, heaven and all those thousands and millions of stars at night? Where did they come from? What is my role in the Universe? What is light or fire? This book will give you some answers. But it will not give you the answer to the question: Does God exist? You will have to make up your mind after you read the book if you have not made up your mind already. About that huge bright light in the village? I now believe it might have been a shooting star or meteorite that was headed toward our village but combusted or burned up and evaporated into gas in the atmosphere perhaps 10 Kms high above our village. I have seen thousands of shooting stars especially even today the many times I visit the village and look at the dark sky, bright moon and mesmerizing twinkling stars in the beautiful Milky Way.

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Where Did We Come from or Does God Exist?; Astrophysics for people in a Hurry. – UKZAMBIANS

OpenACC Shows Growing Strength at ISC – HPCwire (blog)

OpenACC is strutting its stuff at ISC this year touting expanding membership, a jump in downloads, favorable benchmarks across several architectures, new staff members, and new support by key HPC applications providers, ANSYS, for example. It is also holding its third user group meeting at the conference and a number of other activities including a BoF. That seems like significant progress in its rivalry with OpenMP.

Parallel programing models, of course, have become de rigueur to get the most from HPC systems, especially with the rise of manycore, GPU, and other heterogeneous architectures. OpenACC formed in 2011 to support parallel programing on accelerated systems. In its own words, OpenACC is a directives-based programming approach to parallel computing designed for performance and portability on CPUs and GPUs for HPC.

There are now roughly 20 core members Cray, AMD, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Indiana University, to name a few. OpenACC reports downloads jumped 86 percent jumped in the last six months, driven in part by a new free community release that also supports Microsoft Windows. Interestingly, support for Windows which is a rarity in core HPC was very important to ANSYS according Michael Wolfe, OpenACC technical lead and a PGI staff member. The current OpenACC version is 2.5 with 2.6 expected to be available for public comment in the next couple of months.

As shown in the slide below, OpenACC has steadily expanded the number of platforms supported. Its an impressive list although notably absent from this list is ARM. Before it ceased operations PathScale supported ARM and currently the GCC group (GNU Compiler Group) is working on OpenACC support for ARM. Leading compiler provider PGI, owned by NVIDIA, also has plans. Its no secret that our plan is to eventually support ARM and well be using the same mechanism we used to support Power and so the compiler part is relatively straight forward. Its getting the numerical libraries in place [thats challenging], says Wolfe.

Significantly, OpenACC is reporting rough parity with OpenMP for application acceleration on a pair of Intel systems and an IBM Minsky when compared with a single core Haswell system. (Reported systems specs: Intel dual Haswell 216 core server, four K80s; dual Intel Broadwell 220 core server, eight P100s; IBM dual Minsky Power8+ NVLINK, four P100s; host systems for GPUs not listed. The application was AWE Hydrodynamics CloverLeaf mini-app.)

You get almost no performance decrement on a multicore on the various systems, notes Wolfe. OpenACC hasnt yet benchmarked against Intels forthcoming Skylake. Were waiting on it. Obviously we need to re-optimize our code generator.

Perhaps most telling, say OpenACC proponents, is the uptick in support from HPC application community. In its ISC new release, OpenACC reported it now accelerates ANSYS Fluent (CFD) and Gaussian (Quantum Chemistry) and VASP (Material Science), which are among the top 10 HPC applications, as well as selected ORNL Center for Accelerated Application Readiness (CAAR) codes to be run on the future CORAL Supercomputer: GTC (Physics), XGC (Physics), LSDalton (Quantum Chemistry), ACME(CWO), and FLASH (Astrophysics).

Early indications are that we can nearly match the performance of CUDA using OpenACC on GPUs.This will enable our domain scientists to work on a uniform GPU accelerated Fortran source code base, says Martijn Marsman, Computational Materials Physics at the University of Vienna in the official press release.

Weve effectively used OpenACC for heterogeneous computing in ANSYS Fluent with impressive performance. Were now applying this work to more of our models and new platforms, says Sunil Sathe, lead software developer, ANSYS.

OpenACC also reports the recently upgraded CSCS Piz Daint supercomputer will be running five codes implemented with OpenACC in the near term: COSMO (CWO), ELEPHANT (Astrophysics), RAMSES (Astrophysics), ICON (CWO), ORB5 (Plasma Physics).

Two new OpenACC officers have been appointed:

Guido Juckeland is the new secretary for OpenACC. He founded the Computational Science Group at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), Germany. His research focuses on better usability and programmability for hardware accelerators and application performance monitoring as well as optimization. He is also vice-chair of the SPEC High Performance Group (HPG) and an active member of the OpenACC technical.

Sunita Chandrasekaran is the new director of user adoption. Her mission is to grow the OpenACC organization and user community. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Delaware. Her research interest spans HPC, parallel algorithms, programming models, compiler and runtime methodologies and reconfigurable computing. She was one of the recipients of the 2016 IEEE TCHPC Award for Excellence for Early Career Researchers in HPC.

Wolfe says the forthcoming 2.6 release is mostly a matter of tweaks. One change in the works which is substantive is Deep Copy capability.

Many of these programs have very complex data structures. If you think about supercomputing you think about arrays, vectors, and matrices. [But] thats so 1970s. Now these applications will have an array of structures and each structure element has a subarray which is a different. On todays devices, in order to get most performance on the GPU, you need to move the data onto the GPU memory which is higher bandwidth, closer to the device, says Wolfe.

Deep copy doesnt just copy the array but copies that and all the subarrays and all the subarrays. There is a mechanism to support this today but it is clunky [and] requires a lot of code. We are trying to automate that but we are afraid we are going to get it wrong. So what we are doing now in the PGI compiler, we are working on a prototype application before we standardize something in the classification, says Wolfe.

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OpenACC Shows Growing Strength at ISC – HPCwire (blog)

Review: "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry" | Mo Books … – The Missourian (blog)

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, is exactly what it says it is a short tour of our understanding of the cosmos that is charming, conversational, witty and perfect to read in short bursts. Its a great introduction to astrophysics. If you lack time to read a longer book but remain curious about why a subject like astrophysics matters, pick this one up.

Tyson is director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, hosts his own television show, hosted an updated version of Carl Sagans classic television series Cosmos, and frequently appears on talk shows. His enthusiasm for astrophysics, contagious on television, translates to print. I could hear his voice as I read the words.

Tyson breaks his book down into 12 easily-read chapters. He starts with the beginning of the universe and then continues through subjects such as dark matter, dark energy, the space between galaxies, alien intelligence and the prevalence of round objects, until he ends with an argument on why the cosmological perspective is essential for humanity.

Its fascinating, succinctly written limited jargon. That doesnt mean its an easy read. The books shortness means you can stop reading on occasion to make sense of all the big ideas and still finish the book. (Remember, this is written for curious people in a hurry.)

Along with the mind-blowing science, Tyson is funny, full of interesting opinions, and folksy proclamations. Yes, Einstein was a badass, writes Tyson. And then, later, Without a doubt, Einsteins greatest blunder was having declared that Lambda was his greatest blunder.

Towards the end, after explaining what we know about the universe, Tyson attempts to put it all in perspective. Why does astrophysics matter to us, in our daily lives? Understanding the rules of the universe helps us understand ourselves and equips us for the future, he argues. Figuring out the rules of the universe is how people moved from caves to agriculture. This is the continuation of that movement.

How does it help us understand ourselves? Simply put, we are made of the stuff of stars.

We do not simply live in this universe; the universe lives in us.

Furthermore, if we ever discover alien intelligence, it too will be made of the stuff of stars. It behooves us in the meantime to study the stars and understand how the universe works. After reading this, youll see that there are a lot of strange, unanswered questions lurking in space.

This short, excellent read should find a happy home in every librarys science section. After reading this, readers who want more can move on to books with additional detail.

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Review: "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry" | Mo Books … – The Missourian (blog)

Legendary UC Santa Cruz astronomer and astrophysicist dies – The Mercury News

SANTA CRUZ Jerry Nelson, a pioneering astronomer known for his innovative designs for advanced telescopes, died Saturday at his home in Santa Cruz. He was 73.

A professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, Nelson was project scientist for the Thirty Meter Telescope, or TMT, and had served as project scientist for the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii from 1985 through 2012.

Nelson conceived the revolutionary segmented mirror design of the Keck Observatorys twin 10-meter telescopes, and he developed new techniques to fabricate and control the mirror segments.

Nelson also played an important role in the development of adaptive optics technology, which sharpens the images from ground-based telescopes by correcting for the blurring effect of Earths atmosphere. As founding director of the Center for Adaptive Optics, a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center based at UC Santa Cruz, Nelson helped pioneer the use of adaptive optics in astronomy.

Nelson earned his B.S. in physics at the California Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in physics at UC Berkeley. From 1970 to 1981, he worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and he was a professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley from 1981 until 1994, when he moved to UCSC.

Much of Nelsons early research was in the area of high-energy physics and astrophysics. He analyzed the results of particle accelerator experiments and studied high-energy astrophysical phenomena such as pulsars using innovative astronomical instruments of his own design.

Nelson presented the concepts that led to segmented-mirror telescopes in a series of papers and technical reports starting in 1977, often working with UC colleagues Terry Mast and Gary Chanan. The largest telescopes at that time had been fashioned by polishing a single glass blank to the requisite precision of a small fraction of the wavelength of visible light. In order to maintain that surface, the polished mirrors had to be very thick and were therefore heavy, which was a problem for larger mirrors. Nelsons idea was to create a single, high-precision optical surface by supporting individual hexagonal mirrors in a close-packed honeycomb configuration. Making this concept a reality required a series of innovative ideas for fabrication, measurement, and control of the mirror segments.

Nearly twice the diameter and four times the light-gathering capacity of the previous largest ground-based telescopes, the twin Keck Telescopes had an enormous impact on astronomy and astrophysics research.

The segmented-mirror design will be seen as one of the major turning points in telescope technology and one that opened the path to much larger telescopes on the ground and in space in the coming decades, said Michael Bolte, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. Bolte, who serves on the TMT Board of Directors, said the TMTs 30-meter primary mirror design is essentially a scaled up version of the Keck primary mirrors.

After suffering a stroke in 2011, Nelson coped with significant physical limitations but remained deeply engaged in TMT design work. He was a wonderful colleague. His endless curiosity always pushed the scientists around him to think more deeply, and his persistence and continued excellence after his stroke were inspirational to everyone, Bolte said.

A symposium to honor Nelson was already planned for July 13 and 14 in Santa Cruz, featuring talks by many of the eminent astronomers who worked with him over the years. The gathering will now serve as a memorial celebration of his life, Bolte said.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Nelson received many awards and honors for his achievements, including the 2010 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering, the Andr#xe9; Lallemande Prize of the French Academy of Sciences, and the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics of the American Astronomical Society.

Nelson is survived by his wife, Jocelyn Nelson; his sister Jeanne Moat; two children from his first marriage, Leif and Alexandra; and three grandchildren. His first wife Victoria died in 1992.

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Legendary UC Santa Cruz astronomer and astrophysicist dies – The Mercury News

OU offers 10-day Certificate Course in Astronomy & Astrophysics – NYOOOZ

Summary: The Department of Astronomy of Osmania University is organizing a 10-Day certificate course Foundation course in Astronomy and Astrophysics from 12th to 22nd July. 3,000 to be paid through DD in favor of Co-Ordinator, Foundation course in A & Ap, OU, Hyd. The payment can be done through online transfer also to Ac/No: 36925752331, informed Department of Astronomy Head Dr. D. Shanti Priya on Monday. The candidates who are pursuing/completed graduation, with Maths, Physics and computers at intermediate (10+2) level are eligible to enroll in the course. The course is aimed to popularize Astronomy in young minds which will help them develop strong foundations in the subject and motivate them to choose it as a career option.

The Department of Astronomy of Osmania University is organizing a 10-Day certificate course Foundation course in Astronomy and Astrophysics from 12th to 22nd July. The course is aimed to popularize Astronomy in young minds which will help them develop strong foundations in the subject and motivate them to choose it as a career option. The candidates who are pursuing/completed graduation, with Maths, Physics and computers at intermediate (10+2) level are eligible to enroll in the course. Those who are interested to enroll can register on or before 5th July by sending their details through mail to coordinator,[email protected].

The registration fee is Rs. 3,000 to be paid through DD in favor of Co-Ordinator, Foundation course in A & Ap, OU, Hyd. The payment can be done through online transfer also to Ac/No: 36925752331, informed Department of Astronomy Head Dr.

Source: http://www.siasat.com/news/ou-offers-10-day-certificate-course-astronomy-astrophysics-1198885/

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OU offers 10-day Certificate Course in Astronomy & Astrophysics – NYOOOZ

Studying astrophysics: Written in the stars – The Hindu


The Hindu
Studying astrophysics: Written in the stars
The Hindu
Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor, Australian National University, also happens to be a Nobel prize-winning astrophysicist and cosmologist. He was jointly awarded the prize for physics in 2011 for his discovery that the universe is expanding, at an

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Studying astrophysics: Written in the stars – The Hindu

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson – Times Higher Education (THE)

Plato had it right when he said that astronomy compels the soul to look upwards. The universe makes for beautiful images and stories littered with superlatives. Astronomers draw on most of modern physics, from gravitation to quantum mechanics, and drive new discoveries in regimes that we could never reach in the laboratory. We develop cutting-edge instrumentation for telescopes on Earth and in space. And our field has a history spanning thousands of years, ever since those first souls looked up and marvelled at the view.

Neil deGrasse Tysons aim is, on the face of it, daunting to convey something of all of this to a level of foundational fluency in only 200 pages. But the presenter of the radio programme StarTalk and the television documentary series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, one of the most experienced science communicators around, is up to the challenge.

The book is adapted from a series of essays originally written in 1998-2007, and this shows in the format: theres some repetition, and the flow between chapters feels rather random. The upside is that each chapter stands alone, perfect for the busy reader who wants to dip in and out. The breadth of topics is excellent, and includes the Big Bang, dark matter, dark energy, the formation of the elements and the search for life elsewhere in the universe. There is no stinting on physics, and astronomers get some stick for the century-long gap between the discovery of radiation beyond the visible and the development of telescopes in these wavebands. The style is vintage Tyson engaging, chatty and littered with historical and linguistic anecdotes (including a lovely reference to petunias, in a nod to the late, great Douglas Adams).

There are some surprising omissions. There is relatively little on the birth, life and death of stars. The stars dominate our night sky, and Im still amazed by the fact that we understand the processes that differentiate our Sun from the red supergiant Betelgeuse and the white dwarf Sirius B. Supermassive black holes, such as the monster in the centre of our galaxy, get barely a mention, and the chapter on telescopes does not do justice to the full range of new technology at our disposal. However, this is understandable in a slim volume.

Although many scientists are namechecked, I was disappointed that only three women made the cut: Vera Rubin (dark matter pioneer), Jocelyn Bell (discoverer of pulsars) and Carolyn Shoemaker (of comet fame). Stellar physics without Annie Jump Cannon or Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, the cosmic distance scale without Henrietta Swan Leavitt, radio astronomy without Ruby Payne-Scott? This is a book that aims to inspire the next generation of scientists, and women have played, and continue to play, a major role in our field.

Tyson opens the book by discussing the allure of astronomy in popular culture. He takes a more sombre view at the end, with a sober assessment of our place in the cosmos and a plea to embrace this cosmic perspective. In an era where it feels that we have to defend science, it is the right way to finish: marvel at the universe, enjoy puzzling it out, and do your utmost to protect our neighbourhood even if youre busy.

Anna Watts is associate professor of astrophysics, University of Amsterdam. She works on neutron stars and the next generation of X-ray space telescopes.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry By Neil deGrasse Tyson W. W. Norton, 224pp, 14.99 ISBN 9780393609394 Published 2 June 2017

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Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson – Times Higher Education (THE)

STT Astrophysics Conference To Look At Black Hole Collisions – St, Thomas Source

Black holes merging (Illustration by Aurore Simonnet at Sonoma State University, via http://www.apod.com)

The University of the Virgin Islands is hosting a conference on astrophysics this week, looking at the newly-confirmed existence of gravitational waves sent across the universe when two black holes- bodies of such immense mass and density that no light can escape collide.

Taking place June 5-9, the conference: Generation-GW: Diving into Gravitational Waves, is one of two astronomy conferences this summer sponsored by UVIs College of Science and Mathematics and the Telemann Observatory. The second conference, Unveiling the Physics Behind Extreme AGN Variability will take place from July 11-14. Both conferences are on crucial astronomy breakthroughs

over the last few years.

We are establishing a legacy, and these events will improve the recruitment of Virgin Islands students to study physics and astronomy at UVI, Antonino Cucchiara, assistant professor of physics said in a statement from UVI.

The conferences will also demonstrate how research and activities undertaken at UVI can benefit the community, he added.

Groups of astrophysicists from around the world are coming to talk at the June conference on gravitational waves, which are widely considered to be the greatest discovery so far of 21st century astronomy. This phenomenon describes ripples in the curvature of space-time that propagate outward from their source at the speed of light- the fastest speed anything can go. Light goes about 186,0000 miles per second. Their discovery confirms a 100 year old theory of Albert Einsteins.

The other discovery to be discussed by more than 50 astronomers at the July conference is Fast Variable Active Galactic Nuclei. The center of every galaxy has a super massive black holewith the mass of millions of suns.When a star has more than about 10 times the mass of our sun, when its fuel runs out and fusion is no longer stoking the stars fires, the gravity of all that mass will crush all the atoms down to a point were it all collapses into a point- a singularity. The gravity is so intense around it that at some point not even light can get out, if it gets too close. As matter falls into it, it speeds up, and is crushed. As the matter falls, it spins faster and faster, forming a disk that heats up to unimaginable temperatures, producing energy that is observable in optical, X-ray, gamma-ray radiation.

Most or all galaxies have really big black holes at their center. Our galaxy; the Milky Way galaxy, has one named Sagittarius A* that is about four million times the mass of the sun. How these supermassive black holes came to be is still being debated.

Some galaxies have little activity- nothing is falling in for long stretches of time- they are inactive. Some have constant activity- a regular disk that constantly radiates intense energy. And some are variable. The July conference will focus on Fast Variable AGNs, which radiation changes quickly in time and are therefore difficult to observe in detail.

Both conferences are only open to paid registrant due to space limitations. There will, however, be a specific talk designed for public-access to be held at UVIs ACC (Administration and Conference Center) on Thursday June 8th at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to everyone.

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STT Astrophysics Conference To Look At Black Hole Collisions – St, Thomas Source

Company Seven | Astro-Optics Index Page

To learn more about how this site is arranged and how to navigate it, or for those new to Company Seven please Click Here. To learn more about the latest activities, web page changes, and developments at Company Seven then visit our News and Developments page. For those new to astronomy, we also provide Observing Plan Aids to help them learn the sky.

We fondly remember:

Bruce Roy Wrinkle (b. 7 August 1945, d. 28 April 2013) was the soul of our showroom; kind, witty, intelligent, and able to greet you with a funny joke. Bruce was was amazingly well read, able to hold conversations with doctors and scientists on matters from prions to dark matter. And he was our friend, a true friend in every sense of the word and every day without him lacks some luster.

And Robert Kim Carter (b. 18 Jan 1962, d. 23 April 2005) whose friendship and support originally brought this site on line in 1994. Robert founded one of the first Internet Service Providers of “Internet Valley”, Digital Gateway Systems, Inc. in Vienna, Virginia. DGS used to be to ISP’s, as Company Seven is to our industry.

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Company Seven | Astro-Optics Index Page

Book Review: ‘Astrophysics for People in a Hurry’ – Dan’s Papers

Scientists are confidently predicting that the two stars of binary system KIC 9832227, about 1,800 light years away in the northern wing of the Cygnus constellation, will collide with each other sometime between 2021 and 2023, creating a spectacular astronomical eventa red nova, the brightest star in the night sky, visible on earth even without a telescope. Theres no denying itits science. The good thing about science, says astrophysicist, Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, StarTalk podcaster and East Hampton resident Neil DeGrasse Tyson, is that its true whether or not you believe it. Ameerr, right on!

Dr. Tysons new book, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Norton, $18.95),gives us as many reasons to believe as there are stars in the sky, which is to say, a near infinite number. Tysons grasp on this tricky subject is masterly; his ability to communicate his subject matter, second to none; his delivery and style, disarmingly simple and accessible; hes also funny in that dad-humor kind of way, as in Einstein was a badass. Sure, there will be instances of head scratching as you try to untangle the difference between a quark and photon, or to decipher just how small a trillionth of a second is. But we cant all be astrophysicists.

At times, through no fault of his own, Tyson makes us consider our insignificance in the 14,000,000,000-year history of our cosmos. Consider this doozy: Without the billion-and-one to a billion imbalance between matter and antimatter, all mass in the universe would have selfannihilated, leaving a cosmos full of photons and nothing else. Essentially, if conditions were only slightly different in the very first second after the big bang, there would be absolutely nothinga universe without galaxies, stars, earth, or even Dans Papers. Can you imagine!? As Tyson admits later, the utter scale of the universe and the topics he discusses in Astrophysics is a depressing thought to some, but a liberating thought to me. If youre susceptible to the former feeling, perhaps, after finishing Astrophysics, youll be feeling more like Dr. Tysonabuzz with all the possibilities of the universe.

Not to worry though. Were just as often made to celebrate the idea that despite all the odds against it, lifeyou, me, usnot only exists, but has thrived and evolved until the point that we can look up at the night sky and at least try to understand it. And as any science documentary watcher already knows, Tyson has a unique and infectious way of simplifying such mind numbingly complex issues and ideas in such fluid, easy-to-comprehend ways that youll be explaining the origins of the universe and dark energy to friends and family in no time. Astrophysics is no different.

So who might this slim volume be perfect for? Just about anyone. Curious to start understanding how the universe works? Go buy this book. Are you a science teacher looking for ways to better explain the most complex astrophysical phenomena to students or casual inquisitors? Go buy this book. Are you a budding young scientist whose curiosity is as boundless as the cosmos? Go buy this book. Does a loved one, despite your best efforts to convince them otherwise and scientific proof to the contrary, still believe humans and dinosaurs cohabited earth? Go buy them this book.

It may not be the perfect sunny-day beach read, though maybe it iswe dont know your life. At the very least, a good reader could make a serious dent in this relatively short book on a Jitney or LIRR ride to or from Manhattan. Better yet, get yourself a book light, head down to the nearest beach after sunset and dive in to Astrophysics.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is available at local bookstores.

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