Voyager expert Stone to speak for Robert M. Walker Distinguished Lecture Series

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, Edward C. Stone, PhD, project scientist and public spokesman for the twin Voyager spacecrafts, will visit the campus of Washington University in St. Louis and describe the probes’ 36-year journeys across the solar system. Stone will describe spectacular flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and Voyager I’s departure from the solar system. The lecture is part of the Robert M. Walker Distinguished Lecture Series hosted by the McDonnell Center for Space Sciences in Arts & Sciences.

Bose named Packard Fellow

Arpita Bose, PhD, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has been named a Packard Fellow, a prestigious distinction awarded to only 18 top young researchers nationwide this year. Bose plans to use the grant to work with unusual microbes that can take electrons directly from an outside source to draw down atmospheric carbon dioxide or make sustainable biofuels.

WashU Expert: Brace yourself, it’s fall-back time again

Falling back is easier on us than springing forward, says Erik Herzog, a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis who has devoted his career to studying body clocks and circadian rhythms. But it is never a good idea to force our body clocks to follow abrupt changes in mechanical clocks. We should get rid of daylight savings time, Herzog says.

$2.4 million instrument upgrade will let scientists see what is happening inside microbes​​

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded David Fike, PhD, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences, $2.4 million to adapt a powerful chemical microscope called the 7F-GEO SIMS for biological samples. The updated instrument’s ability to map the chemistry inside cells will boost research on microbes that are promising candidates for biofuel or bioenergy production.

Blake Thornton: No. 1 standup paddleboarder

Washington University in St. Louis mathematician Blake Thornton, PhD, came in first in the paddleboard division of the MR340, an endurance race on the Missouri River. Before signing up for next year’s race, you might want to read this article as well as watch the video.

High-energy observatory launches this week

On Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 8:15 a.m. St. Louis time, NASA TV will begin broadcasting the launch of a cargo container at the Tanegashima Space Center off the southern coast of Japan. In addition to water and spare parts, the cargo container will carry CALET, an astrophysical observatory designed to study the high-energy cosmos.​

It’s alive, it’s alive!

It was bedlam at mission control when the first images of Pluto came down over the Deep Space Network. Not only were there few craters, but some areas of the planet were smooth as a billiard ball and others rumpled and rippled; some stained the color of dried blood and others gleaming bright white. The variety meant that there was geology on Pluto, alien though the geological processes might be to earthlings.​

Rough guide to Pluto-watching with Bill McKinnon

New Horizons will fly through the Pluto system on July 14 at an angle of 46 degrees to the plane of the dwarf planet’s orbit, then turn to use sunlight reflected from Charon, Pluto’s biggest moon, to image areas of Pluto now in continuous darkness. Your host for the WashU Pluto watching party will be Bill McKinnon, a planetary scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, who will be commenting from mission headquarters at the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland.
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