A point of light.

Our universe began small, but through time has grown to contain supernovae, nebulae and hummingbirds.

There are so many questions we could ask, but it is the “How?” that has intrigued astronomers since the Greeks named the constellations.

On Wednesday (March 16) the West Virginia University Department of Physics and the WVU Astronomy Club are bringing a prominent astronomer to campus for a discussion of the universe and our place in it.

Virginia Trimble, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, will give a public talk on “Cosmology: Man’s Place in the Universe” in the Blue Ballroom of the Mountainlair at 7:30 p.m. If the weather allows, there will be an opportunity to look through the Department of Physics’ 14-inch Celestron Telescope on the roof of Hodges Hall after her discussion.

The lecture will take a look at the history of the universe and the various phenomena that made it what it is today. This will include delving into the early days of the Big Bang and the formation of celestial bodies and moving all the way up to today with the birth of President Obama and the 21st Century.

The goal of the discussion is to highlight what happened, why it happened and how common these phenomena might be.

“The Physics Department and WVU Astronomy Club are very pleased to host an astronomer as distinguished as Dr. Trimble,” said D.J. Pisano, assistant professor in the Department of Physics. “We are looking forward to her department colloquium, and her public talk should be engaging and interesting for people of all backgrounds. In particular, the students who will have an opportunity to talk with her will benefit from her wealth of experience in astronomy.”

During her time at WVU, Trimble will also be presenting a physics colloquium and will meet with students and the Association for Women in Science.

Trimble is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Caltech and holds honorary degrees from Cambridge University in England (MA) and the University of Valencia in Spain (doctora honoris causa). She currently teaches physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, and also serves as an advisory staff member of Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network.

She was awarded the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) prestigious George Van Biesbroeck Prize in 2010. This award recognizes one living individual every two years who has gone above and beyond the call of his or her paid position in the name of advancing astronomy and who displays extraordinary or unselfish service to the discipline.

Trimble’s visit is sponsored, in part, by the International Year of Astronomy for the Las Cumbres Observatory and the AAS Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy.

For more information, contact D.J. Pisano, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, at (304) 293-3422 or DJPisano@mail.wvu.edu.



CONTACT: Rebecca Herod, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
304-293-7405, ext. 5251, Rebecca.Herod@mail.wvu.edu

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