KU professor's talk to commemorate anniversary of Hubble telescope

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

LAWRENCE – A University of Kansas professor and former NASA astronaut who served on a Hubble Space Telescope crew will give a public talk reflecting on the contributions made during the telescope program’s 25 years.

The public lecture, “Hubble Space Telescope at 25: How Our Understanding of the Universe Has Changed,” will be delivered by Steve Hawley, professor of physics & astronomy. The event will take place at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, at The Commons on the KU campus.

In the 1990s, Hawley served on two Hubble Space Telescope-related Space Shuttle missions: As a crew member of STS-31 in 1990, he put the space telescope into orbit. On his second mission, STS-82 in 1997, he installed two new scientific instruments — STIS and NICMOS — and replaced a few failed components.

Hawley has said previously that chief among the discoveries made possible by the Hubble Space Telescope was establishing the age of our universe and the fact that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Hawley remains an active astronomer who today is using the telescope he once deployed and serviced to research an abnormal planetary nebula he discovered as a young astronomer before ever venturing beyond Earth.

The event celebrates both 25 years of space discovery and KU's selection of two students to be recognized by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. The recognition comes with a $10,000 scholarship for each recipient: Jennifer Stern, senior from Lawrence, majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, and Jessica van Loben Sels, senior from Albuquerque, New Mexico, majoring in microbiology.

For more information on the event, contact Maureen Cole, maucole@ku.edu or 785-864-8124.

The event is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Office of the Provost, the University Honors Program and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

The College is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit, with more than 50 departments, programs and centers.