“How Did You Get That?”

GW Undergraduate Series: Can't Get to DC Museums, Historical Sites and Political Institutions? We Will Bring Them to You!

Suspended models of planets in a museum

Details

 

Presenter: David DeVorkin, Senior Curator for the History of Astronomy

National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Moderator: Dr. Rachel Riedner, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies

 

“How Did You Get That?”  -- when the “Explore the Universe” gallery opened on September 11, 2001 (!), many people asked me that question after they toured the exhibit.  In the late 1990s we collected, by acquisition and by loan, some of the most important astronomical instruments of the modern era. On loan are: William Herschel’s original 20-foot telescope with which he “gauged” the universe.  The Newtonian Cage from the 100-inch telescope at Mount Wilson that Hubble used to prove that galaxies exist external to our Milky Way and they are moving away from one another. In the collection are an original photodetector from the Kamiokande neutrino telescope in Japan that was the first to detect neutrinos from a supernova in 1987.  Vera Rubin’s spectrograph that provided convincing evidence of dark matter, and the Hubble Space Telescope’s back-up mirror, among many others. I will first conduct a virtual tour of the gallery showing that “how and when we acquired new tools of perception, we found that the universe was not what we thought it was.”

 


How to Register

Register in advance for this meeting on Zoom using your GW email address. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.