2015-2016 Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series launches Oct. 15 with presentation on Hubble Space Telescope

hubbleIn cooperation with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Astronomical Society, the Department of Astronomy will sponsor the 2015-2016 Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series through the support of the Arthur S. Holden Sr. Endowment.

Renowned astronomers from across the country will give free lectures at the natural history museum in the Murch Auditorium at 8 p.m.

Frank Summers, astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, will give the first presentation in the series Thursday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. at the Natural History Museum’s Murch Auditorium. Summers will present “25 Years of the Hubble Space Telescope.”

In April 1990, astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery deployed the Hubble Space Telescope into Earth orbit, and launched a new era of astronomical discovery. Now, 25 years later, researchers will celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope’s groundbreaking investigations, which have brought revolutionary changes in the understanding of planets, stars, nebulae, galaxies and the frontiers of the cosmos.

At this first session in the 2015-2016 Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series, attendees will explore the trials and triumphs of NASA’s first Great Observatory, and experience a compendium of some of the greatest imagery the universe has ever known.

Summers is an outreach astrophysicist who illuminates and elucidates the beauty and intricate wonders of the universe. His expertise spans a diverse range from research cosmology and high-performance computing to scientific visualization, education, and public engagement. For the past 14 years, he has contributed to all aspects of the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope press, education, and outreach through news media, websites, educational programs, social media, museums and planetariums.

His specialty is creating accurate and aesthetic scientific visualizations by combining research computer simulations and Hollywood rendering techniques. He was a writer, science adviser and scientific visualization supervisor on the IMAX film Hubble 3D. He also contributed data, science and visuals to the Academy Award-nominated IMAX film Cosmic Voyage. Summers directed the IMAX short film, Hubble: Galaxies Across Space and Time. Online, he is the host of the Hubble’s Universe Unfiltered video podcast and blog. He lectures widely, consults on books and documentaries, and has created a 24 lecture DVD course on the new views of the solar system for The Great Courses.

Summers also will give a talk Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 11 a.m. in the Sears Library, Room 552, at the Astronomy Colloquium titled “Truth and Beauty in Astronomy Visualization.” The presentation of complex scientific ideas demands both precision and detail. The interpretation of even graphical representations generally requires specialized knowledge. Public-level visuals are difficult, and risk becoming over-simplified cartoon versions.

More information on the Frontiers series is available at astronomy.case.edu/event-archive/frontiers-of-astronomy/. To learn more about the Astronomy Colloquium, visit astronomy.case.edu/event-archive/astronomy-colloquia-15-16/.