Friday, April 16, 2010

April Science Cafe: Dr. Robert Williams, President of the International Astronomical Union

Rochester’s Science Café will take an insider’s look through the Hubble Space Telescope during a talk by Robert Williams, head of the International Astronomical Union, the association that reclassified Pluto as a “dwarf planet” in 2006.

Williams, a distinguished research scholar and a former director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, will present “Our Spectacular Cosmos: How a Hubble Astronomer Looks at the Universe,” at 7 p.m. April 22 at the Pittsford Plaza Barnes & Noble’s Community Room. Rochester Science Café—sponsored by Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Rochester—is a series of free talks and discussions intended for a general audience.

While serving as director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, Williams influenced the science program and operation of the Hubble Space Telescope. The institute and Goddard Space Flight Center operate the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope for NASA.

In 1999, NASA awarded Williams the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal for his leadership of the Hubble Deep Field project. The two-week project, involving more than 50 scientists, revealed thousands of galaxies. Williams other research interests include novae, or exploding stars, spectroscopy and nebular gas clouds.

Williams will also present “The New Universe Revealed by the Hubble Space Telescope” at 2 p.m. April 23 at the RIT Inn & Conference Center as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s Arts and Letters program.