Photo of the Milky Way

Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series: “How Were the Most Ancient Objects in the Universe Formed?”

Members of the Case Western Reserve University community are invited to hear from Kelsey Johnson, professor of astronomy and director of the Echols Scholars Program at the University of Virginia, at the next event in the 2018-19 Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series.

Johnson will present “How Were the Most Ancient Objects in the Universe Formed?” Thursday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m. at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Talk description

Ancient remnants from the early universe surround our galaxy. These relics, known as “globular clusters,” have the potential to provide insight into the prevailing physical conditions during an epoch that cannot be directly observed.

While some progress has been made, and scientists now know globular clusters can still be formed during extreme episodes of star formation in the relatively nearby universe, the actual physical conditions that gave rise to globular clusters have vexed both observers and theorists for decades.

With the new capabilities of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), researchers have the ability to probe the birth environments that gave rise to these ancient objects for the first time.

This talk will give an overview of progress that has been made, and highlight the importance of using chemistry to help scientists understand physical conditions in the interstellar medium.

About the speaker

Kelsey Johnson is the founding director of the Dark Skies, Bright Kids outreach program. She also serves on the board of the American Astronomical Society, and is the vice president of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Johnson previously chaired the international ALMA Science Advisory Committee, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently appointed her to the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee.

She also is a winner of the NSF CAREER Award and Packard Fellowship, along with several teaching awards. Johnson also was recently named one of four ACC Distinguished Professors in the Atlantic Coast Conference of universities.

Her research spans galaxy evolution, with a focus on ancient star formation in the universe.

Series details

In cooperation with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Astronomical Society, the Department of Astronomy sponsors the 2018-19 Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series.

The series is composed of five free lectures at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History by renowned astronomers from across the country.

Learn more about the series.