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ScienceWise - Nov/Dec 2007

Astronomers bring the stars to ANU

Article Illustration
Dr Karl, Professor Brian Schmidt & Dr Helmut Jerjen

Dr Karl’s public lecture well received by all

On Thursday 15 November the Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics (RSAA) presented one of Australia’s star scientists Dr Karl Kruszelnicki as part of the ANU-Toyota public lecture series. Who better to introduce Dr Karl than our own star Professor Brian Schmidt (winner of the 2006 Shaw Prize and 2007 Gruber Cosmology Prize). Professor Schmidt reminded the audience of Dr Karl’s immense range of experiences and accomplishments, and took the opportunity to grab Dr. Karl’s autograph for his son. Dr Karl enjoyed the warm welcome and entered into some friendly banter with Professor Schmidt, pointing out his admiration for Professor Schmidt and the work he had done proving the universe was expanding at an accelerating rate. Dr Karl’s entertaining presentation had most people on the edge of their seats and in fits of laughter for most of the session. We heard of his surfing saga, the resulting injury and how he almost drowned in a foot of water while his family watched on. We found out about the Mars Rover Explorers and the amazing feats required to land a space probe safely on another planet. Dr Karl shared with us the way he is generating solar power at home. The audience was told all about the mathematical secrets of falling in love, and how and when to find “The One”. We received many useful pieces of information such as the scientific evidence that kind people tend to yawn more frequently. Dr Karl ended his talk and the applause from the crowd showed that he was very well received.

There certainly were a lot of challenging questions, which Dr Karl spent the next half hour answering. Afterwards, Dr Karl signed copies of his latest book Please Explain, which was on sale. The display of the Research School in the foyer drew a lot of attention with Dr Jerjen talking to the public about Astronomy and the various research activities at Mt. Stromlo Observatory. Our star student outreach group (recent winners of the Vice-Chancellor’s Special Award in the ANU 2007 Staff Excellence Awards) had brought their telescopes along for public viewing outside of Manning Clark Centre. The public was treated to the craters on Moon and the planet Jupiter with its four Galilean satellites. There were also bags of lollies generously donated by The College of Science.

Further Info Online:

Dr Karl’s public lecture well received by all
How supernova data suggest the expansion of the universe is accelerating
Professional development workshops for science teachers at the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science
Searching for the donor stars left over from type Ia supernovae
Creating an insight into 21st century maths
The cool thing about science
Underlining the value of science graduates to the business world
Possibly Related ANU Research Articles
Dr Karl’s public lecture well received by all
An out of this world experience for young astronomers
New telescope may shed light on dark matter
Searching for the donor stars left over from type Ia supernovae
Newly discovered red dwarf may yield clues to planet formation
How the recent discovery of a new dwarf galaxy may help unravel the mysteries of galaxy formation.

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