WestConn to host Hubble Space Telescope Symposium
Events will celebrate 20th anniversary of the telescope’s launch
DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will host a multi-event symposium from April 20 – 24 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, which was built in Danbury.
Panels on women in science and technology and the future of aerospace will start the week, followed by a lecture by retired astronaut Story Musgrave and a day-long science and technology fair for families in the university’s Science Building.
Goodrich ISR, where the telescope was built; the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce; and Hamilton Sundstrand, which makes NASA’s space suits have partnered with Western on the symposium. Hamilton Sundstrand contributed $3,000 to the university for the program.
The Hubble Space Telescope was the first telescope to be sent into space in order to view the cosmos above earth’s distorting atmosphere. The telescope was built by Perkin-Elmer Corp, now Goodrich ISR, and was launched on April 24, 1990. Although its mirror contained an aberration that blurred the Hubble’s vision, a fix was developed and installed by astronauts three years later. Since then, the telescope has produced some of the most important astronomical science in history. For instance, scientists working with Hubble have proved the existence of black holes and determined the age of the universe. The Hubble’s camera has sent to earth thousands of photographs that show the workings of a dynamic, beautiful universe.
As the host site for the symposium, Western is honoring the history of Danbury and the local people who worked on the telescope, which has been described as one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century.
The symposium will feature:
Tuesday, April 20
WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
A panel discussion for girls and young women interested in education and careers in science and technology.
• Kerri Cahoy, an astrobiologist working with NASA Ames to design a new spacecraft with a powerful telescope that will take pictures of even small Earth-sized planets around nearby stars
• Suzanne Woll, the lead systems engineer at Hamilton Sundstrand working on the Sabatier System, an environmental control system designed to reclaim water from hydrogen gas byproduct from oxygen generation and waste carbon dioxide. She is also the Region F Senator for the Society of Women Engineers.
• Valentina Lugo of United Technologies. An MIT grad and potential astronaut.
• Rachael Manzer, a science coach in the Suffield, Conn., school system; president of the Connecticut Science Teachers Association; and is a NASA teacher astronaut in training.
The free event will begin with a breakfast for all guests at 8 a.m., in the WCSU Science Building, on the Midtown campus, 181 White Street, Danbury, followed by the panel discussion. Please call (203) 837-8486 to reserve a seat. Parking will be available in the WCSU garage on White Street.
Wednesday, April 21
THE FUTURE OF AEROSPACE
A panel discussion on “Aerospace in the 21st Century” with a keynote speaker from NASA.
• Edward Francis, Vice President and General Manager, HS Energy, Space & Defense, Hamilton Sundstrand
• Jim Larwood, Division President, Kaman Precision Products
• Dr. Mark Stier, director of Optical Programs at Goodrich ISR
The keynote speaker will be Douglas A. Comstock, director of NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program, which encourages private sector development of new technology.
The event will begin at 11 a.m. at the Westside Campus Center, 43 Lake Ave. Extension, Danbury. Lunch will be served. The event is open to the public at $25 per person. Parking will be available on University Boulevard. For information, call (203) 837-8486.
Thursday, April 22
Retired astronaut Story Musgrave will present the annual President’s Lecture: “The Beauty of Nature — The Art of Technology.”
Musgrave flew on the first mission to repair and service the Hubble Space Telescope. He will speak at 7:30 p.m. in Ives Concert Hall, White Hall, WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White Street, Danbury. The event is free and open to the public. Parking will be available in the WCSU White Street parking garage. CEU’s are available for this event. For information, call (203) 837-8486.
Saturday, April 24
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FAIR
Demonstrations and presentations by Hamilton Sundstrand, Goodrich ISR, The Aldrich Astronomical Society, the Clay Center for Science and Technology, and Western Connecticut State University.
Exhibits include a NASA space suit, a one-fifth scale model of the Hubble Space Telescope, a meteorite, a space shuttle tire, a Segway scooter, and many more space industry artifacts.
WCSU will offer tours of the Science Building, presentation of the latest Hubble photographs and, weather permitting, telescope viewing of the sun.
10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Science Building, Midtown campus. Free and open to the public. Parking will be available in the WCSU garages on White Street and on Fifth Avenue.
PLANETARIUM SHOW AND TELESCOPE VIEWING
Western will host a planetarium show, “Spring Skies,” followed by telescope viewing of the moon, Mars, Saturn and the spring sky from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Westside Observatory and Planetarium on the university's Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The event will be free and open to the public. For more information, call (203) 837-8672 or visit www.wcsu.edu/starwatch.
For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.
Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.