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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 23, 2009

UI public lectures celebrating International Year of Astronomy begin Jan. 28

The University of Iowa will celebrate the International Year of Astronomy 2009 by presenting a series of free, public talks on astronomy, beginning with "The Sun Since the Time of Galileo," by professor Steven R. Spangler at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 28, in Lecture Room 1 of Van Allen Hall.

The talks will be given by faculty and staff in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Physics and Astronomy and are aimed at a nonscientific, family audience. Each talk will be followed by an informal discussion period. The lecture series schedule, which will be amended during the year, so far includes the following events, all set to begin at 7 p.m. in Lecture Room 1 of Van Allen Hall, except as noted for the July 18 program:

--Wednesday, Jan. 28, "The Sun Since the Time of Galileo," Steven R. Spangler.
--Tuesday, Feb. 17,     "The Physics of Astrophysics: The Universe on a Tabletop," Dale E. Stille.
--Wednesday, March 25, "The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe," Robert L. Mutel.
--Wednesday, April 15, "Finding Our Place in the Cosmos," Kenneth G. Gayley.
--Wednesday, May 6, "Future Spacecraft Exploration of the Solar System," William S. Kurth.
--Saturday, July 18, Subject TBA, To be held at the Eastern Iowa Observatory and Learning Center near Mt. Vernon, Iowa, beginning at 8 p.m.
--Wednesday, Sept. 2, "Exploring the Ancient Climate of Mars," Ingrid A. Ukstins Peate.
--Wednesday, Nov. 11, Subject TBA.

Additional information and program additions, as they become available, may be found at

The talks are being presented in conjunction with celebrations around the world, as the United Nations has proclaimed 2009 the "International Year of Astronomy." This year is the 400th anniversary of the first use of a telescope for observing the sky. The purpose of the International Year of Astronomy is to make people aware of developments in the science of astronomy, as well as the opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of the dark night sky and other astronomical phenomena.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. People requiring an accommodation in order to participate in this program are asked to contact in advance the Department of Physics and Astronomy at 319-335-1686.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,