Public lecture tonight on Life in the Universe

Come see a talk by one of the top researchers in the field of astrobiology.  Shawn Domagal-Goldman, who is the Chief of the Planetary Systems Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will speak on NASA’s Search for Life in Places Near and Far.

The talk will be tonight, Thursday, March 7, from 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. in 1153 Smith Laboratory.  The talk is free, and no registration is required.


New mirror coating on the LBT

How do you make telescope mirrors so shiny bright?

Large astronomical telescopes use mirrors, rather than lenses to gather light.  The large mirrors are coated with a very thin layer of metal, say aluminum.  All the big glass does is hold this thin reflective coating in place.

For a nice diversion, watch the movie below of the recoating process for one of the mirrors at the Large Binocular Telescope.  The coatings are done in place.  First, the old coating is scrubbed off, and then a large vacuum jar is placed over the mirror.  Air is pumped out, and evaporated metal is sprayed on.

Credit:  Matthieu Bec, LBT

The coolest scientific visualization ever

MEGA plate

Really!  Here’s a great article from Vox showing rapid evolution of resistance to antibiotics.  There’s a good explanation of what’s going on.

Was there some demonstration or event that made you want to be a scientist?  For me, it was the shows at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.  Share your memories in the comment section below.