Speakers for Michiana Star Party 8

After the first night of stargazing, the Michiana Star Party 8 features three guest speakers on Saturday, May 7, 2016, during the day. Dr. Mitchell Wayne, professor of elementary particle physics at University of Notre Dame, will explain the significance of the Higgs Boson discovery at 11:00 a.m. After the lunch break, Matthew Linke, Director of the University of Michigan Planetarium, will discuss humans as space explorers at 1:00 p.m. David Fuller, Producer of Eyes on the Sky, will address effective dark sky advocacy at 2:30 p.m.

You can pre-register for the star party through April 30 for a reduced admission rate or register on-site at Dr. TK Lawless Park in Vandalia, MI. The Michiana Astronomical Society appreciates the speakers for sharing their presentations, described below.

The Higgs Boson: Have We Finally Discovered the “God Particle”? In July 2012, physicists in Geneva, Switzerland announced the discovery of a new elementary particle—the Higgs boson, commonly referred to in the press as the “God Particle”. This talk reviews the history of particle physics, how this discovery was made, and why it is so significant.

Mitchell Wayne is a professor of physics specializing in experimental particle physics. Previously, he served as chair of the Department of Physics and as an associate dean of the College of Science. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. Professor Wayne’s teaching has been recognized with a Kaneb Teaching Award and the Shilts-Leonard Teaching Award. He also is the principle investigator of QuarkNet, a renowned national physics education and outreach program. His research is currently focused on the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. Professor Wayne is particularly interested in new techniques for particle detectors and in searches for physics beyond the “standard model.”

Humans as explorers, Earth and Mars, and the book The Martian Humans have been explorers as long as we have been human. This talk looks briefly at our exploration of two worlds, Earth and Mars, and the parallels between the two explorations. Visual, humorous, and thought provoking, we examine a story millions of years in the making.

Originally from Alpena, Michigan, Matt Linke has spent most of his nearly 30 years as a Planetarium educator at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. In that time he has worked with several hundred undergraduate and graduate students who have been planetarium operators—a part of the “teaching museum” philosophy of the Museum. In 2015, he was named a Fellow of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association, in which he serves as State Chair for Michigan.

Remembering How to Sleep

Humans have altered the night time environment with artificial light substantially in the last 40 to 50 years. This explosion of light has affected how we and other living organisms function, and it is harming our sleep and health not to mention how other organisms act and react. Focusing on starlight as a means to address this problem is insufficient. A re-thinking of how we address light at night is in order.

David Fuller is David Fuller is a long time amateur astronomer and telescope maker who has been writing and producing materials for people to better see and understand the night sky since 2008. Those efforts also include discussing light at night and it's implications for human health and other living organisms.

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