400 Years of Telescopes, and More, at APS April Meeting
This year’s April Meeting, May 2nd–5th in Denver, Colorado, promises to feature the best in cutting-edge research in particle, nuclear and astrophysics, and related areas. In addition, the meeting will take place jointly with the Sherwood Conference on Fusion Theory. In honor of the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first observations of the heavens with more than just the naked eye, the overall theme of the meeting is “New Eyes on the Universe: 400 Years of Telescopes.”
Keynote speaker Richard Ellis from Caltech expands on the theme for his Sunday night talk “The Quest for Giant Telescopes: Four Centuries of Challenge and Scientific Discovery.”
Two town meetings are planned for evening sessions. On Saturday, Neil Gehrels of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and others, will speak and answer questions about the DOE/NASA Joint Dark Energy Mission. On Monday, members of the National Research Council Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey Committee, chaired by Roger Blandford, will present their plans, with discussion to follow.
The annual APS Prizes and Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, honoring the significant contributions of 16 individuals.
The nine scheduled Plenary Lectures will cover a wide range of topics. Among them: Joan Centrella of NASA/Goddard on merging black holes; Alexander Zholent of LBNL describing some of the next generation of microscopes; Paris Sphicas from the University of Athens, Greece, on the Large Hadron Collider; Richard Muller of the University of California, Berkeley, on evaluating the terrorist threat. The complete list of plenary speakers is available on the web.
A lecture for the public will be given by Phil Plait, author, blogger and self-described “Bad Astronomer.” He will detail the different ways the universe might do in planet Earth once and for all, and what we might do about it. His talk “Death from the Skies,” drawing from his book of the same name, depicts cataclysmic events ranging from meteorite impacts to nearby gamma ray bursts.
This year’s meeting boasts over 75 invited sessions and 100 contributed sessions. Some of the highlights include: Paul Stankus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory describing the latest experiments on the quark-gluon plasma; Michael Watkins of Caltech on ways to use gravity to map climate change; and, in conjunction with the simultaneous Sherwood Fusion Theory Conference, StevenCowley of UKAEA Culham tracing the history of fusion research.