The Star Spot

Feature Guest: Wendy Freedman

A long long time ago in every place at once, all of this began. But when exactly did the universe begin? And how quickly did it expand into the structure we see around us? Those numbers are more difficult to nail down than we had thought, yet more critical to our understanding of the nature of the cosmos, of dark matter and dark energy, than we could have ever imagined. Today we're joined at The Star Spot by cosmologist Wendy Freedman who recently stepped down after 12 years heading up the development of the Giant Magellan Telescope.

Current in Space

Anuj wonders if magnetic worm holes will one day transport us to the far reaches of space. And with Pluto data analysis just getting underway, Tony provides the new targets for the New Horizons spacecraft.

About Our Guest

Wendy Freedman is Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Among the world’s most influential astronomers, Freedman served as co-leader of the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project and is former director of the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California. She served 12 years as chair of the Board of Directors for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) Project, an optical telescope with a primary mirror 80 feet in diameter scheduled to begin operations in 2021. Freedman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. She is a recipient of the 2009 Gruber Prize for Cosmology.







Direct download: The_Star_Spot_-_Episode_86_-_When_The_Universe_Began.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Feature Guest: Hilton Lewis

The twin Keck Telescopes of Hawaii are the world’s largest optical and infrared telescopes. For twenty five years they have turned their eyes on the farthest and faintest objects in the cosmos, stacking up a dizzying array of accomplishments: from evidence for the supermassive black hole at the centre of our own galaxy to a recent discovery of the most distant galaxy in the observable universe. 


Today Keck Observatory Director Hilton Lewis joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to discuss the life of the most impactful telescope astronomers possess, and to speculate on the future of the Keck in the emerging intensely competitive era of giant telescope astronomy.

Current in Space

Humans have the inate ability to self repair. Now Anuj tell us that the advent of self healing spacecraft may be close at hand. Comets are the ultimate fear factor. But while comets do have the ability to take life, Tony tells us they may also have the power to give it. And Dave reports on the closest known quasar, the product of the battle of two cosmological giants.

About Our Guest

The career of Hilton Lewis has grown alongside that of the Keck observatory. Lewis has been a member of the Keck team since the project’s launch in 1986. From his original job designing and developing the software that controls the Keck he would be promoted to many senior positions, then appointed Deputy Director in 2002 and Director in 2014. Lewis earned a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town and an MBA from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Direct download: The_Star_Spot_Episode_85_Keck_Observatory.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

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