Saturday, December 4, 2010

Forming Stars and Forming Life

Last night, Dr. Daniel Wolf Savin delighted our audiences with a public talk entitled: "The Genesis Projects: Forming Stars to Forming Life". He discussed his recent experiments to categorize the abundance of molecules in the early universe which aided in the creation of the first population of stars. He also talked about the creation of more complex molecules later in the Universe and how these organic molecules set the stage for the development of life here on Earth and perhaps elsewhere. It was a great lecture, and we had such a large audience that not all of them could sit in the 260-seat lecture hall.

While the weather forecast had called for cloudy weather, it ended up clearing part of the way through the night, providing us with an opportunity to observe the heavens. We set up 4 telescopes to observe The Pleiades, The Double Cluster and Jupiter. Unfortunately there were such large crowds that it some people a bit of time to get a glimpse through a telescope.

In addition, Brandon Horn led a discussion of the recent news of bacteria that appears able to replace its internal phosphorus molecules with arsenic molecules. This is noteworthy because it has been held that phosphorus is a molecule necessary for life, so this may mean there is a much larger variety of conditions suitable for life than previously thought.

Jana Grcevich operated the 3D wall upstairs giving audiences a 3D experience in looking at the sky and the things we find in it.

Overall, it was a great night with record-breaking numbers of attendees: over 350! Thanks to everyone for coming out!


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