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CONTACT: GARY GALLUZZO
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e-mail: gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu

Release: Sept. 11, 2000

Sept. 16 Saturday Scholars program offers look at northern lights

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- "The Aurora Borealis: Nature's Lightshow in the Sky," is the subject of a presentation by Craig Kletzing, University of Iowa associate professor of physics and astronomy, at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 in Room 40 of Schaeffer Hall.

The program, part of the UI College of Liberal Arts "Saturday Scholars" series, is free and open to the public. In a preview to the presentation, Kletzing will be a guest on "Iowa Talks," on WSUI (AM-910) at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 14.

Kletzing says that his program will be aimed at the general public and will include video footage of the northern lights as captured by special ground-based cameras and cameras carried aboard NASA spacecraft. He adds that he will offer an up-to-date summary of scientists' understanding of the northern lights, a phenomenon that sometimes occurs at latitudes low enough to be viewed by Iowans.

Kletzing, who came to the university in 1996, previously served as an associate research professor at the University of New Hampshire,1995-96, and as a visiting scientist at Germany's prestigious Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, 1993-94. His research interests include using satellites and sounding rockets to measure plasma, an extremely thin gas composed of electrons and ions, in the Earth's magnetic field so as to better understand auroral origins. Similarly, he is studying auroral physics by measuring electric fields in space using electron beams.

"Saturday Scholars," developed by Linda Maxson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, gives members of the public a chance to hear about the latest teaching and research innovations by professors in the college. The sessions last about an hour, including a 20 to 30 minute presentation followed by time for questions. Refreshments are served. Future lectures in the series are scheduled for Sept. 23 and Oct. 7, 14, and 21. All presentations begin at 10 a.m. in Room 40, Schaeffer Hall, the southeast building on the UI Pentacrest.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact College of Liberal Arts in advance at 335-2610