Oct. 25, 2005
Morningside College will host two events in celebration of the World Year of Physics during the month of November.
Dr. Thomas Hockey, professor of astronomy at the University of Northern Iowa, will lecture on the impact of Albert Einstein on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. in the UPS Auditorium of the Lincoln Center, 3627 Peters Avenue.
Local astronomers Frank Heffner and Ron Thompson of Sioux City and Dr. Gary Turner of Lawton, Iowa, will host a star party on Monday, Nov. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. outside the Walker Science Center, 1707 Morningside Avenue. Turner is assistant professor of mathematical sciences at Morningside and the organizer of the event. (photo of aurora borealis in skies over Lawton, Iowa, taken in 2004 by Dr. Gary Turner.)
Both events are free and open to the public. Hockey’s appearance is sponsored by the American Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, and Morningside’s Society of Physics Students, Engineering Physics program, and Academic and Cultural Arts Series (ACAS).
The year 2005 has been named the World Year of Physics in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s “Miracle Year,” in which he published three landmark papers, and the subsequent advances in the field of physics. His papers dealt with Brownian motion, relativity, and photoelectric effect.
Hockey’s presentation, “What’s the Big Deal with Einstein,” will distinguish why Einstein has become an icon and why he deserves to be such an icon. Hockey will also discuss Einstein’s contributions to the science of astronomy and the impact of his 1905 papers.
Hockey has researched the history of planetary astronomy in light of the modern search for planets orbiting other stars, the astronomy of solar eclipses and comets, and the archeoastronomy of pre-historic peoples. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980 with a degree in planetary science. He holds master’s degrees in secondary education and astronomy and an interdisciplinary doctorate in astronomy, history, and philosophy from New Mexico State University.
The star party will coincide with the close approach of Mars, which will rise to a viewing altitude at approximately 7 p.m. Persons who wish to attend are invited to bring telescopes. In the event of bad weather, the event will be postponed to Wednesday, Nov. 9. Weather related decisions will be posted on the Morningside College Website at http://webs.morningside.edu/engphys/outreach.
Turner, a graduate of Warwick University, Coventry, United Kingdom, has been at Morningside since 2001. He holds a master’s degree in astronautics and space engineering from Cranfield University, Bedford, United Kingdom, and a doctorate in astrophysics from Iowa State University.