Comets, nuclear physics and Leonardo da Vinci are among the topics to be discussed in the coming months at Western Nevada College’s Jack C. Davis Observatory. Professional lecturer Mike Thomas and Dr. Thomas Herring, a WNC physics professor and the director of the observatory, deliver free presentations on selected Saturday evenings, along with star weekly viewing in the night sky.
Scheduled talks include Nuclear Physics by Herring on Feb. 27, Comets by Thomas on March 12, The Drake Equation by Herring on March 26 and Leonardo da Vinci by Thomas on April 9.
Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 lectures.
For Thomas’ Comets presentation, comets from the past and more recent events are discussed, as well as the mythological beliefs associated with them. His April lecture focuses on the Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions and artwork. His latter lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Herring’s nuclear physics talk later this month concentrates on nuclear fission and fusion, and how they can be used for both power generation and destruction (bombs). Attendees will learn the basic science behind the technology, and Herring will help them discern good information from bad.
His March 26 lecture examines the Drake Equation, which tries to quantify the probability of the existence of and/or contact with intelligent extra-terrestrial life.
“I’ll be covering each term in the equation, our current best guess as to the value and a few possible terms that could be included to further refine the overall guess,” Herring said.
When lectures aren’t scheduled, the observatory is open to the public on Saturdays from sundown to 11 p.m. The Observatory is located at 2699 Van Patten Drive in Carson City.
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