PHONE: (313) 593-5518
DATE: March 24, 2005
Noted astronomer to give lecture at UM-Dearborn on April 5
DEARBORN---Astrophysicist Donald York will give a free public lecture
on "Galaxy Evolution: A Changing View from the Sloan Digital Sky
Survey" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5 in Room 1030 of the College
of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Building at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
The talk and related events have been planned to highlight developments
in the astronomy program at UM-Dearborn, including the construction of
the campus's first permanent observatory and related changes in curriculum.
York, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago,
is visiting UM-Dearborn through a program sponsored by the American Astronomical
Society. He also will visit classes and take part in informal discussions
with students and faculty members while on campus.
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS),
the subject of York's talk, is one of the most ambitious astronomical
survey projects ever undertaken, according to UM-Dearborn physics Prof.
Donald Bord. The SDSS, which involves hundreds of scholars and dozens
of institutions, will map in detail one-quarter of the entire sky, determining
the positions and absolute brightnesses of more than 100 million celestial
objects. It also will measure the distances to more than a million galaxies
"His talk will also touch on other important astronomical questions,"
Bord said. "For example, how do supermassive black holes affect their
host galaxy's appearance? What role does dark matter play in galactic
evolution? How often do galaxies collide and what happens to them when
UM-Dearborn's astronomy program will take a big step forward with the
completion of a new science building addition early next year. One of
the most distinctive features of the new building will be an observatory
including a 16-inch telescope, along with five other stations to mount
telescopes on a third-floor deck of the building.
In addition to its use in astronomy classes, the large telescope will
help advanced students work on independent projects that may lead to publishable
data, according to Bord. The campus has received a $144,000 grant from
the National Science Foundation to support the purchase of the main telescope.
While the building is under way, faculty members at UM-Dearborn are considering
some important changes in the astronomy curriculum that will be made possible
by the new facility, according to Bord. "We have plans to introduce
some new upper-level courses, including one on observational astronomy
tied to the opening of the observatory," he said.