Dr. Jason Steffen
Presenting this year's Harry Nelson Lecture, Dr. Jason Steffen will discuss and illustrate the most recent results from NASA's Kepler mission. Launched in 2009, Kepler is the first instrument capable of finding Earth-like planets orbiting distant Sun-like stars. Kepler searches for planets by continuously monitoring 145,000 stars to detect the tell-tale dimming of the star that indicates that a planet has passed in front of it. Despite the fact that Kepler has only just begun its mission, its first results have already revolutionized the field of extrasolar planets.
Dr. Jason Steffen earned his PhD in physics from the University of Washington in 2006. His research interests include extrasolar planets, dark matter/energy, gravitation, cosmology, and data analysis techniques. He is currently the Brinson Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics.
The Nelson Lecture is named in honor of Dr. Harry Nelson, 1935 graduate of Augustana College, long-time Professor of Mathematics at Augustana, and first director of the John Deere Planetarium. This lecture series continues Dr. Nelson's legacy of sharing the wonders of the heavens with the Quad City community.
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