Dr. J. Craig Wheeler, professor of astronomy at University of Texas at Austin, will present “Exploding Stars in an Accelerating Universe” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, in the Tony and Lucille Weasler Auditorium, 1506 W. Wisconsin Ave. The event is free and open to the public.
As the Rev. George V. Coyne, S.J., Lecturer in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Wheeler will explain how supernovae produce elements necessary for life, exotic compact objects like neutron stars and black holes, and the energy to drive the evolution of galaxies.
Wheeler, currently the Samuel T. and Fern Yanagisawa Regents Professor of Astronomy, received his bachelor of science in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965 and doctorate in physics from the University of Colorado in 1969. He was a Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology, working in Nobel Laureate Willy Fowler's group from 1969 to 1971. From 1971 to 1974, he was an assistant professor of astronomy at Harvard. In 1974, he moved to University of Texas Austin as an associate professor of astronomy.
Wheeler specializes in the astrophysics of violent events: supernovae, neutron stars, black holes, gamma-ray bursts and the relation of these events to astrobiology. He has published approximately 200 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings, and has edited books on supernovae. He published a novel, The Krone Experiment, co-authored the screenplay, and played a role in the independent film made in Austin. He has also written a popular astronomy book, Cosmic Catastrophes: Supernovae, Gamma-Ray Bursts and Adventures in Hyperspace. From 2006 to 2008 he served as president of the American Astronomical Society.
About the Rev. George V. Coyne, S.J., Lecturer in Astronomy and Astrophysics
The lecture series was established in 2005 through a generous donation by Mrs. Mercedes Hurley Hughes, alumna of the College of Arts and Sciences and Marquette Trustee Emerita. As director of the Vatican Observatory, the Rev. George V. Coyne, S.J., has led a team of Jesuit astronomers in conducting cutting-edge astronomical research and in developing new telescopes and other instrumentation for studying the cosmos.
The annual Coyne Lecture honors the tradition of excellence in research exemplified by the Rev. Coyne by bringing an outstanding astronomer or astrophysicist to the Marquette campus to give a public lecture explaining his or her research. The Coyne lecturer is selected annually by faculty members of Marquette’s physics department.
Past presenters of the Coyne Lecture include the Rev. George V. Coyne, S.J. (2006), Edward W. (Rocky) Kolb (2007) and James Gates (2008).
Media wishing to speak to Dr. Wheeler should contact Andy Brodzeller at the Office of Marketing and Communication at (414) 288-0286.
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