“A Supernova in the Lab: Nuclear Research at NSCL”
Zach Constan, Outreach coordinator for Michigan State University’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (Zach is Paul Quenneville’s cousin).
Michigan State University’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) is one of the world’s leading rare isotope research facilities. How do researchers study atomic nuclei that are too small to see, exist for less than a second, and can’t be found on Earth? Simply accelerate them to half the speed of light, smash them, and then study the pieces. The secrets we learn could help explain what happens in exploding stars and the origins of elements in your body. In addition, MSU has begun constructing the $730 million Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, a DOE Office of Science project to design and establish a world-leading laboratory that will push the boundaries of nuclear science.
Meeting starts at 6:45 pm.
UVA Professor Mark Whittle
The Cosmic Microwave Background: A Window on Inflation?
The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) has made headline news many times over the past few years, and with good reason. The CMB comes from hot gas that was glowing at a time when the Universe was so young that most of its fundamental qualities were still simple and understandable and, most importantly, visible in the CMB’s subtle patchy patterns. In this CAS talk, I will review why the CMB gives us so much information about the universe, including the recent claims that it has revealed for the first time evidence for the cosmic birth process itself: inflation.
Meeting starts at 6:45 pm on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at McCormick Observatory.
Steve Layman, President, Charlottesville Astronomical Society
Steve Layman will present “Cool Astronomy Stuff on the Internet” at this month’s meeting on Wednesday, November 5th starting at 6:45 pm.
Astronomy Author Jim Mullaney will be our December speaker
Topic: “Observing Double Stars & The Herschel Objects” based on the two unique star atlases that famed celestial cartographer Wil Tirion and I did for Cambridge University Press – the very first of their kind!
Meeting starts at 6:45 pm at McCormick Observatory.
Elisa Quintana – Research Scientist with the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center and Kepler Mission Research Scientist
Topic: Kepler 186f and Beyond – Video Lecture
Meeting starts at 6:45 pm at McCormick Observatory
Greg Redfern, NASA Solar System Ambassador and NoVAC Member
Topic: “The Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater – the Inside Story of America’s Largest Impact Crater”. The world’s 7th largest known impact crater is under the Chesapeake Bay at Cape Charles, VA; hear the inside story
Greg recently retired to Green County he plans to join CAS.
Meeting starts at 6:45 pm at McCormick Observatory.
Glass Choices and Polishing of Large Optical Telescope Mirrors
There are three types of glass used in today’s large optical telescope mirrors. Ultra Low Expansion (ULE) produced by Corning Glass in upstate New York, Zerodure produced in Germany by Schott and Borosilicate (E6) produced by O’Hara in Japan and spun cast into solid mirrors by the University of Arizona Mirror Lab in Tucson Arizona. ULE and Zerodure are low expansion glass. E6 is more thermally active but melts at a lower temperature and can be spun cast at a much lower temperature. Each of these types of glass have advantages and disadvantages in producing and polishing. I will explore some of the opportunities and cost associated with producing and using each type mirror in today’s giant telescopes.
Education: BSEE Michigan State University, MBA University of Washington Seattle, Master of Nuclear Engineering University of Washington Seattle
Experience: I worked in the nuclear power industry for 20 years. Most of that time was spent at the Westinghouse Hanford Engineering Development Laboratory in Richland, Washington. We designed, constructed and operated the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) a 400 MW sodium cooled breeder reactor. My specialty was nuclear instrumentation and remote handling equipment. The last two years I was in Washington, Westinghouse loaned me to Battelle Northwest Laboratory to work on fusion reactor design. It became clear to me that these were paper studies that wouldn’t be built in my lifetime.
About that time a friend convince me to move to Arizona to work on the Palo Verde nuclear power plants. I was the site manager for the nuclear steam supply system for unit #2. This is an 1,100 MW electrical output plant. The nuclear industry in this country was dying so I began looking for another field that would a allow me to contribute to science and engineering for future generations.
I was hired to Manager the Engineering and Technical Services (ETS) department for the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO). NOAO is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of the congressional budget. NOAO managed Kitt Peak National Observatory, Sac Peak Solar Observatory and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile. During my 20 years with NOAO we designed and built the WIYN 3.5M telescope at Kitt Peak. The Gemini 8 M telescopes, one on Mouna Kea, Hawaii and one at CTIO in Chile. I also acted as interim project manager for the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) during the initial design phase in 1997/1998 and the interim project manager for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) during the conceptual design phase in the early 2000’s. My job was to manage the conceptual design phase and produce a credible design and cost estimate that could be used to secure funding for the projects. Funding for these projects came from Congress, Foreign Partners and Universities. The last project I worked on in collaboration with Caltech is the Thirty Meter Telescope Project (TMT). The TMT is a thirty meter telescope to be sited atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. This 30 meter primary mirror will be made up of 492 segments that are actively controlled. The collecting are of the TMT will be 144 times that of the Hubble Space Telescope and with diffraction-limited spatial resolution will have a spatial resolution over 10 times better than Hubble. At the time I retired, I estimated the cost of the project at $1.2 billion. The project office estimated the cost at $800 million. I am pleased to see that today the project office is publicizing a cost estimate of $1.4 billion. I still do a little consulting but stay away from any long term commitments.