Fifty Recent Colloquia

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)2013-12-16

  • Vanderbilt, Tom
  • Why do traffic jams happen? How does the "windshield view" affect the way we see the world around us? Do people who merge at the last moment in construction work zones actually slow overall traffic? ... [MORE]

Attack of the Gamma-Ray Spiders from Space!2013-12-13

  • Ray, Paul
  • The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has been surveying the sky in the gamma-ray band (photon energies of 100 MeV and greater) since August 2008. The Large Area Telescope, Fermi's prime instrument, ha ... [MORE]

The Solar Cycle Conundrum2013-12-06

  • Strong, Keith
  • We have known for 170 years that sunspots come and go on a roughly 11-year timescale. Despite many efforts to develop empirical or physical models of the solar cycle, we have failed to find a method ... [MORE]

Gamera: A Human Powered Helicopter2013-11-25

  • Chopra, Inderjit
  • Since August of 2008, the University of Maryland's Team Gamera has been engaged in an ongoing effort to advance innovations in human-powered helicopter flight. A talented team of more than 100 underg ... [MORE]

Mars: Periglacial Morphology and Ice Stability2013-11-22

  • Heldmann, Jennifer
  • At the Mars Phoenix landing site and in much of the martian northern plains, there is ice-cemented ground beneath a layer of dry permafrost. Unlike most permafrost on Earth, though, this ice is not l ... [MORE]

Is The Sky Really Falling? Identifying And Managing Spacecraft Conjunction Risks2013-11-18

  • Burns, Rich
  • The era of managing spacecraft conjunction risks using the "big sky" theory is over. Today's more crowded space environment dictates a more rigorous approach. This talk will discuss the current proce ... [MORE]

Volcanism on Io: Implications for a Subsurface Magma Ocean2013-11-15

  • Hamilton, Christoher
  • Jupiter's moon Io is the most volcanically active body in the Solar System, with a mean surface heat flux that is 20 times larger than on the Earth. However, unlike the Earth, extreme volcanism on Io ... [MORE]

Antarctic Rifts as an Analog for Studying Tidal Motions along Cracks on Icy Satellites2013-11-08

  • Hurford, Terry
  • A variety of ridges and dilational bands have been observed on Europa. Double ridges, which are thought to flank a central fracture, are among the most common tectonic features on Europa. While their ... [MORE]

Systems Engineering of the James Webb Space Telescope2013-11-05

  • Menzel, Michael
  • The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be NASA's successor mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST telescope will have an aperture greater than 6 meters in diameter, and along with its co ... [MORE]

Waking a Giant: Bringing the Saturn Era F-1 Engine Back to Life2013-11-04

  • Betts, Erin M.
  • After decades of slumber, a team of engineers at Marshall Space Flight Center embarked on an endeavor to wake an F-1 engine and bring it back to life. An advanced F-1 engine is currently in the trade ... [MORE]

It Is Rocket Science -- Remarkable Discoveries from NASA's Sounding Rocket Program2013-11-01

  • Pfaff, Robert
  • For over five decades, NASA's Sounding Rocket Program has provided a steady stream of scientific and technological advancement to support research objectives of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. So ... [MORE]

Astrobiology and the Anthropocene Epoch2013-10-25

  • Grinspoon, David
  • Informed by comparative planetology and a survey of the major episodes in Earth history, this lecture will offer taxonomy of planetary catastrophes meant to illuminate the unusual nature of the "Anth ... [MORE]

What's the Big Deal about Comet ISON?2013-10-18

  • Knight, Matthew
  • Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) has gained considerable notoriety due to predictions of its becoming very bright in late November 2013 when it passes less than 2 solar radii from the Sun's photosphere. Comet ... [MORE]

MMS and the Magnetic Musculature of Space2013-09-30

  • Moore, Thomas
  • Magnetic reconnection is the act of connecting magnetic fields back together. Or in the opposite sense, we may speak of reconnection as the act of disconnecting magnetic fields from each other. For e ... [MORE]

Why is the Solar Corona so Hot?2013-09-27

  • Klimchuk, James A.
  • This fundamental question has challenged space scientists for decades. At temperatures of several million degrees, the corona is hundreds of times hotter than the solar surface, so heat cannot simply ... [MORE]

Moonbase Alpha and Other NASA Games2013-09-23

  • Laughlin, Daniel
  • In 2010, Moonbase Alpha was released on the popular digital games distribution network Steam. The game combines elements of NASA's lunar architecture with Epic's Unreal 3 Engine to create a compellin ... [MORE]

Goddard Showcase2013-09-11

  • Cudmore, Alan
  • [Memarsadeghi] A Golomb Rectangle is a matrix of zeros and ones such that its autocorrelation matrix values are 0, 1, or k, where k is the number of ones in the grid. That is, in such a grid no patte ... [MORE]

Touchstone: The OSIRIS-REx Design Reference Mission 2013-09-09

  • Mink, Ronald
  • One definition of touchstone is "a criterion or standard by which judgment is made." This word also captures the essence of the OSIRIS-REx mission - to touch (touch-and-go sampling) a stone (asteroid ... [MORE]

The James Webb Space Telescope: Challenges overcome and current status2013-09-09

  • Menzel, Mike
  • Over the last two years, the JWST Program has made outstanding progress towards the October 2018 launch including completion of optics, completion of sun shield engineering templates, delivery of fli ... [MORE]

An Information Avalanche: How UARS And Aura Observations Enlighten Chemistry Climate Models2013-06-07

  • Douglass, Anne R.
  • Instruments on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) made measurements of ozone and gases important to ozone in the stratosphere and mesosphere from 1991 until 2005. Instruments on the Earth ... [MORE]

Predicting Sandy's Impacts: the Science behind Modeling and Communicating Storm Surge2013-05-31

  • Feyen, Jesse
  • Hurricane/post-tropical cyclone Sandy was a very deadly and destructive coastal storm that made landfall in New Jersey on October 29, 2012. Sandy grew unusually large when its tropical cyclone merged ... [MORE]

Underwater Eden and What We Each Can Do to Create and Sustain a Healthy Ocean Environment2013-05-29

  • Stone, Gregory
  • Dr. Stone will relate the amazing, and unprecedented story of saving the last coral wilderness on Earth by creating the world's largest and deepest UNESCO World Heritage Site. He will share details, ... [MORE]

SensorWebs as an Enabling Step for Holistic Remote Sensing2013-05-22

  • Ungar, Dr. Stephen
  • SensorWebs are systems consisting of multiple sensors together with a centralized or a distributed information processing system which act as a cohesive whole. The sensors can be homogeneous or heter ... [MORE]

The Landsat Data Continuity Mission - A Center Triumph2013-05-13

  • Irons, James
  • The lift off of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base on February 11, 2012 was the culmination of 14 years of effort at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Through ... [MORE]

Hubble at 23!2013-05-10

  • Wiseman, Jennifer
  • This colloquium will celebrate the achievements and new scientific endeavors of the Hubble Space Telescope as it surpasses 23 years in operation. Hubble is now playing a lead role in science never en ... [MORE]

Natural Language Processing: Challenges, Solutions, and Applications2013-05-08

  • Dorr, Bonnie
  • With the availability of large monolingual and parallel texts, statistical natural-language processing systems (e.g., machine translation and automatic summarization) have proven to be quite successf ... [MORE]

Satisfying our Curiosity about the Habitability of Ancient Mars with 9 Months of Exploration of Gale Crater2013-05-03

  • Mahaffy, Paul
  • Following an exciting descent through the thin atmosphere of Mars, the 6 wheels of the Curiosity Rover touched the surface on the floor of Gale Crater on August 6, 2012. Curiosity's mission: to expl ... [MORE]

History of GSFC: An Architect's Perspective2013-04-29

  • Binstock, Alan
  • This slide show is a visual essay outlining the results of a comprehensive study of the history of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The slides offer a historical overview of GSFC and identify asso ... [MORE]

Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint2013-04-26

  • McGee, Beth L.
  • Dr. McGee will present an overview of the status of the science and policy surrounding the efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Her presentation will include a summary of the health and ecological ... [MORE]

Automobile Safety: What You Don't Know Can Kill You2013-04-22

  • Bloch, Byron
  • Byron will show and tell many of the life-or-death secrets he's uncovered from his hands-on inspection of accident vehicles coast-to-coast for over 40 years. You'll learn about "crashworthiness" and ... [MORE]

The Galactic Center: Unveiling the Heart of our Galaxy2013-04-11

  • Ghez, Andrea
  • Proposed almost half a century ago as the sources that power active galactic nuclei, massive black holes were initially greeted with skepticism. The center of our Galaxy has proven to be the ideal la ... [MORE]

Getting the Most from Simple Models2013-04-09

  • Schiff, Conrad
  • In today's fast-paced world, enabled by countless networked machines, it is natural to rely on computers to answer our analysis needs. However, an overreliance on the computer is harmful to good syst ... [MORE]

Energy Storage R&D Vehicles: Current Status and Research Directions2013-04-08

  • Duong, Tien Q.
  • This presentation will discuss the current status and direction of the energy storage R&D effort conducted by the DOE Vehicle Technologies Program (VTP). The energy storage R&D effort is responsible ... [MORE]

Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond2013-04-05

  • Provine, Robert
  • Robert Provine boldly goes where other scientists seldom tread--in search of yawns, laughs, hiccups, coughs, sneezes, and other lowly, undignified human behaviors. Upon investigation, these instincti ... [MORE]

Federating Disjoint Wireless Sensor Network Segments2013-03-27

  • Younis, Mohamed
  • Wireless sensor networks (WSN) can increase the efficiency of many real-life applications through the collaboration of hundreds of miniaturized sensors which can be deployed unattended in harsh and i ... [MORE]

Can you hear me now? Law enforcement surveillance of Internet and mobile communications2013-03-25

  • Soghoian, Christopher
  • Telecommunications carriers and service providers now play an essential role in facilitating modern surveillance by law enforcement agencies. The police merely select the individuals to be monitored, ... [MORE]

The Milky Way Project: Citizen Scientists Map Massive Star Formation Throughout the Galaxy2013-03-22

  • Povich, Matthes
  • Since December 2010, tens of thousands of volunteer "citizen scientists" have logged onto the Milky Way Project (MWP) website ( to assist an international team of professional ... [MORE]

NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio2013-03-18

  • Mitchell, Horace
  • The Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has been visualizing Earth and space science data since 1988. Since 1997, a large part of the work of the SVS has been to pro ... [MORE]

Some Meteorological Aspects of the Derecho of June 29, 20122013-03-15

  • Zubrick, Steven
  • During the afternoon and evening of Friday 29 June 2012, an intense, long-lived line of thunderstorms raced eastward at nearly 60 mph spanning an area from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic coast. In t ... [MORE]

NASA Earth Exchange (NEX): Collaborative computing for global change science2013-03-13

  • Nemani, Rama
  • It is not uncommon for Earth scientists to spend considerable amount of their time dealing with acquisition, pre-processing and staging of data as well as engineer, develop and maintain software. Bei ... [MORE]

Supermassive Black Hole Caught Red Handed in Stellar Homicide2013-03-08

  • Gezari, Suvi
  • It was first proposed by theorists in the late 1970's that an inevitable consequence of a massive black hole lurking in the center of a galaxy is that stars will pass close enough to the black hole t ... [MORE]

The Science & Entertainment Exchange: The National Academy of Sciences Goes to Hollywood2013-03-04

  • Merchant, Ann
  • Americans claim to respect and be interested in science and technology but traditional science news coverage and science-related websites rarely capture wide public attention. Research has shown, how ... [MORE]

Magnetic Reconnection - What is NASA's MMS for Anyway?2013-03-01

  • Cassak, Paul
  • Magnetic reconnection is a fascinating physical process that underlies explosive energy release in many naturally occurring settings in space and beyond. This includes solar flares and explosive eve ... [MORE]

Big Process for Big Data2013-02-27

  • Foster, Ian
  • We have made much progress over the past decade toward effectively harnessing the collective power of IT resources distributed across the globe. In fields such as high-energy physics, astronomy, and ... [MORE]

The Crucial Importance of Form and Function - Jobs, Newton, and Leonardo2013-02-25

  • Atalay, Bulent
  • Bulent Atalay compares the modus operandi of Leonardo da Vinci, Steve Jobs and Isaac Newton, underscoring the ways these three extraordinarily gifted individuals altered forever the we way we see the ... [MORE]

Space Physics Exploration: Basic Research with a High Public Purpose2013-02-15

  • Baker, Dan N.
  • From the first in situ measurements of trapped radiation by J.A. Van Allen and coworkers with Explorer 1 to the latest modern satellite observations, space physics research has been an exciting and c ... [MORE]

Space Weather and What NASA Is Doing About It2013-02-11

  • Pulkkinen, Antti
  • As our technology advances we are becoming more and more vulnerable to new kind of weather, "space weather." We have witnessed increasing vulnerability to space weather since the 19th century when it ... [MORE]

Magnetism and the Invisible Man: The Mysteries of Coronal Cavities2013-02-08

  • Gibson, Sarah
  • Magnetism defines the complex and dynamic solar corona. Twists and tangles in coronal magnetic fields build up energy and ultimately erupt, hurling plasma into interplanetary space. These coronal m ... [MORE]

Steam Coffin: Building the First Steamship in History2013-02-04

  • Busch, John Lauence
  • In 1807, a brilliant, creative, and controversial American by the name of Robert Fulton declared his intent to build an experimental "steamboat," which would be used to initiate a continuous passenge ... [MORE]

Life in a Dinosaur-Dominated Environment: Examining Life in Maryland's Early Cretaceous (~110 Million Years Ago)2013-02-01

  • Stanford, Ray
  • Eighteen years of collecting and analysis of over 1,000 of Maryland's Lower Cretaceous (Potomac Group, Patuxent Formation, Aptian Age) reptile and mammal footprints and trackways, along with vertebra ... [MORE]