5/17/16 Show feat. Prof Julianne Dalcanton on New Souped-up Satellites + Science Writer Lizzie Wade

Credits for the featured image, above: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams, and L.C. Johnson (University of Washington), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler

In this installment of These Vibes, Astrophysics Professor Julianne Dalcanton (U. of Washington) joined us in the studio to talk about space telescopes – specifically two she’s

Julianne-Dalcanton_2101
Julianne Dalcanton, professor of astrophysics at the University of Washington

most psyched for: the just-proposed High-Definition Space Telescope, which would be “like the Hubble Space Telescope on steroids” (expected launch in ~2030) and the gorgeous feat of engineering that is the James Webb Space Telescope, to be launched in just a few years. We also got in to other exciting things like galaxies and exoplanets a bit.

Additionally, we talked about PHAT (actual acronym – I didn’t make this up), the Panachromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury. For a period of time, Professor Dalcanton and some colleagues dominate the Hubble Space Telescope taking image after detailed image of our nearest galaxy, Andromeda. What came together was the most detailed images ever taken (for example, the featured image above), and they’re stunning:

Here’s another cool video for you. We discussed how the James Webb Space Telescope is going to essentially unfold after it’s launched, since it’s so large no existing shuttle can carry it to space. Here’s a really neat animation of how it’s supposed to go down.

And the aforementioned James Webb Space Telescope “selphie”:

JWST selphie
SHINY. 

Towards the end, we discussed life on other planets and how hard it is to look at the endless stars in the Andromeda Galaxy – only one of the countless galaxies in our universe – and not believe there’s more life-forms out there.

Later in the show (about an hour and 20 minutes in), Latin America correspondent for Science Magazine, Lizzie Wade, called in to the studio from Mexico City. We discussed her

LizzieWade
Lizzie Wade, Latin America correspondent for Science and freelance journalist, often writing for Wired

recent piece in Wired on how “Being Bilingual Changes the Architecture of Your Brain.” Lizzie discussed her own experiences becoming proficient in Spanish, as well as current science on the topic. She even touched a little bit on the ongoing debate on this topic (is bilingualism good for you? or neutral (neither good nor bad)?) as well as a bit of the shoddy history.

Last for the show, Wade told us a bit about two of her recent pieces on upheavals in the field of geology and some new findings on ancient stone tools in the Americas.

MUCH MOAR to see here:


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