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Astronomer to lecture about telescope's history, impact

by Judy Hughes last modified Oct 06, 2010 01:56 PM

Oct. 6, 2010



           LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A scientist long involved in developing ground- and space-based telescopes will speak at the University of Louisville Oct. 14 about "The History of the Telescope and Its Relation to Culture."


Donald York, the Horace B. Horton professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago, will give the free, public Bullitt lecture in astronomy at 7 p.m. in Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium. The annual lecture is intended for the general public.


           York is founding director of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a worldwide collaboration by astronomers and institutions to conduct the largest "census" of the sky. He is lead editor of a new book about the history of the telescope and its impact on society.


           He will talk about how the telescope influenced the development of modern science and culture. New telescope systems observe objects at the edge of the universe at light wavelengths far beyond those envisioned by Galileo as he first used a telescope to observe celestial objects 400 years ago, and they may soon reveal whether this is life elsewhere in the universe. York will discuss how technology tied to war, industry and commercial imaging has led to today's telescopes that collect light 100 million times faster than Galileo's model and will likely play a role in future cultural revolutions.


           The physics and astronomy department and the Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium present the annual lectures through an endowment established by the family of former U.S. Solicitor General William Marshall Bullitt.


           For more information, contact James Lauroesch at or the physics and astronomy department at 502-852-6790.                                                                                     


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