Fifty Recent Colloquia

Insect Pathogens: A Model for Human Interventions

  • St. Leger, Raymond
  • Insect pathogens are among the many emerging infectious diseases resulting from human interventions and contributing to their impact. The radiating fungal genus Metarhizium has become a model for natural as well as anthropogenic dispersal scenarios, and for studies into the adaptive differences by which novel pathogens emerge and form. In large part these studies were driven by the desire to deploy genetically modified Metarhizium strains targeting insect vectors of disease. Many issues in ... [MORE]

Particle Physics, the Large Hadron Collider, and Beyond

  • Sundrum, Raman
  • The central successes and puzzles of particle physics will be reviewed, the discovery of the Higgs boson at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) illustrating both aspects. The grand principle of Naturalness will be introduced as the dominant organizing principle behind many searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model. The challenging task of testing naturalness will be summarized, especially the interplay between deep theoretical ideas, such as Supersymmetry, Compositeness, Extra Dim ... [MORE]

Exoplanets as Planets: Bridging the Gap Between Observations and Modeling of Exoplanet Atmospheres

  • Mandell, Anvi
  • After 20 years of discovery, we know of thousands of planetary systems, many with multiple planets and some that strongly resemble our own Solar System. But we are only now beginning to achieve the detailed observations necessary to consider the physical properties of exoplanets beyond the basics of mass and radius. In this talk I will provide a status update on the population of known exoplanets, and describe the methods we are using to begin to probe the atmospheres and surfaces of planet ... [MORE]

The Two Faces of a Spacecraft: Both Earth and Space Science Observations by the DSCOVR Spacecraft

  • Szabo, Adam
  • After seventeen years, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), formerly known as Triana, has been finally launched to its Sun-Earth first Lagrange point (L1) orbit 1.5 million km upstream of Earth. This NOAA-led mission started its life as a NASA Earth Science project. After almost being completed, the spacecraft entered a decade long hibernation at Goddard. But finally, after being refurbished, it was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 last February. As a NOAA space weather monitoring miss ... [MORE]

Where Does the Water in Our Oceans Come from?

  • van Dishoeck, Ewine
  • Water is one of the most abundant chemical species in the universe, and essential for the origin of life (as we know it) on Earth and on the many exoplanets that have now been identified. But where does all the water in our oceans come from? Recent observations, in particular with the Herschel Space Observatory, show that molecules such as water are formed in the very tenuous clouds between the stars that are present throughout the entire Milky Way. The latest results on water gas and ice i ... [MORE]

Star Trek and NASA: 50 Years of Inventing the Future Together

  • Sternbach, Rick
  • Even before NASA and Star Trek existed, filmmakers looked to the aeronautical industry, organizations involved in rocket experiments, and astronomers to aid them in depicting flights to other worlds. The Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials treated audiences to journeys in rocketships to meet up with those "new civilizations" we're so familiar with today, with both good and bad results. Movies such as Frau im Mond and Things to Come primed us for more adventures beyond the Ear... [MORE]

Hipparcos, Hubble Space Telescope, and Gaia: A Golden Age of Astrometry

  • Benedict, G. Fritz
  • I will describe the Gaia astrometric mission, how it works, on-orbit status, and the volume and precision of the expected results. In order to better appreciate the magnitude and importance of these results, I describe how astrometry is done with the Hubble Space Telescope, and summarize some of our 100-200 microsecond of arc precision results. Gaia will produce 10 microsecond of arc precision results, yielding a three dimensional map of our Galaxy with unprecedented precision, accuracy, an ... [MORE]

What Can a Greenland Ice Core Tell us about Climate over the Last 4000 Years?

  • North, Gerald
  • An ice core taken from southern Greenland has been used to infer several interesting aspects of the climate system over the last four millennia. Data from the ice core is claimed to have annual resolution over its span. This allows us to extract a high resolution frequency spectrum of the proxy for temperature in the data. We address three issues: 1) Is the so-called Multi-decadal Atlantic evident in the long term data? 2) Is there any evidence of the eleven-year sunspot cycle? 3) How stead ... [MORE]

The Science of Interstellar: Thoughts on the Habitability of Planets Orbiting Black Holes

  • Schnittman, Jeremy
  • In the recent movie "Interstellar" (Warning: spoiler alert!), a team of intrepid astronauts set out to explore a system of planets orbiting a supermassive black hole named Gargantua, searching for a world that may be conducive to hosting human life. With Kip Thorne as science advisor, the film legitimately boasts a relatively high level of scientific accuracy, yet is still restricted by Hollywood sensitivities and limitations. In this talk, we will discuss a number of additional effects tha ... [MORE]

How to Make a Tornado: Ideas Emerging from Decades of Theory, Simulation, and Field Observations

  • Markowski, Paul
  • I will examine the mechanisms of tornadogenesis within atmospheric convection, particularly supercell thunderstorms, which are responsible for virtually all strong tornadoes. I also will discuss some of the ideas emerging from the recently completely Second Verification of the Origin of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX2), as well as directions for future research. [MORE]

From Beach to Bench and Back: The Science of the Box Jellyfish Sting

  • Yanagihara, Angel
  • "Jellyfish" belong to the 600 million year old Cnidaria phylum that is defined by the presence of explosively discharging, subcellular venom-filled capsules, called cnidae. Stings from certain species of cubozoans, or box jellyfish, cause more deaths than shark attacks each year. Over the past 18 years, my research has focused on addressing the "basic where, when, and how questions" related to lethal and severe stings by these ancient invertebrates. This effort led me of... [MORE]

To the Ends of the Earth: Surveys of Polar Ice from Operation IceBridge

  • Kurtz, Nathan
  • Since 2009, NASA's Operation IceBridge mission has been surveying the Earth's polar ice covers with one of the most sophisticated collection of instruments ever assembled on an airborne platform. The combined suite of instruments include laser and radar altimeters, optical and infrared cameras, gravimeters, and magnetometers to provide an extraordinarily detailed look into the changes of the Earth's great ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica as well as the floating sea ice in the Arctic a ... [MORE]

Why So Few? Growth Mindset, Stereotype Threat, and Spatial Skills

  • Schmelz, Joan
  • One of my favorite references on gender issues is the report entitled, "Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics," which was compiled by the American Association of University Women. I learned so much the first time I read it and have returned to it time and again for details, references, and statistics. This report summarizes studies showing that the achievements and interests of girls in math, science, and engineering continue to be shaped by social... [MORE]

The Soft X-ray Diffuse Background - Nearly 50 Years of Progress

  • Snowden, Steve
  • The diffuse soft X-ray background (SXRB) at 1/4 keV was first observed in 1966, nearly 50 years ago. Since then our measurements of the SXRB have expanded to cover the entire sky and have improved greatly in accuracy, resolution, and statistical significance. Meanwhile, models for the structure of the SXRB have evolved on a somewhat circuitous route that has led from a few simple choices to our current understanding of a complex combination of components due to the heliosphere, the very loc ... [MORE]

Ultracold Atoms as Quantum Simulators for New Materials - Optical Lattices, Synthetic Magnetic Fields and Topological Phases

  • Ketterle, Wolfgang
  • When atoms are cooled to nanokelvin temperatures, they can easily be confined and manipulated with laser beams.Their interactions can be tuned with the help of magnetic fields, making them strongly or weakly interacting, repulsive or attractive. Crystalline materials are simulated by placing the atoms into an optical lattice, a periodic interference pattern of laser beams.Recently, synthetic magnetic fields have been realized.With the help of laser beams, neutral atoms move around in the sa ... [MORE]

Climate Change as Revealed in Satellite Sea Ice Observations

  • Parkinson, Claire
  • Satellite technology has converted sea ice from being among the worst observed to among the best observed of all climate variables, providing a detailed daily record of sea ice distributions in both polar regions. Despite considerable interannual variability, both the Arctic and the Antarctic sea ice covers show trends since the late 1970s that rise well above the background noise. In the Arctic those trends are downward, firmly in line with the expectations for a warming climate, but in th ... [MORE]

50 Years of the Goddard Scientific Colloquium

  • Multiple Speakers
  • The first Goddard Scientific Colloquium was held on September 17, 1965. Since that time, more than 1600 speakers have participated in the series, covering a broad range of science topics. The driving force behind the colloquium series at the beginning and continuing for over 25 years was Dr. Jaylee (Burley) Mead, who was supported by a committee that included many Goddard space and Earth scientists. This special colloquium will include a brief history of the series and some of the notabl ... [MORE]

The MESSENGER Mission to Mercury

  • O'Shaughnessy, Dan
  • MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is the first spacecraft to achieve orbit about Mercury. Designed to operate for one Earth-year in Mercury orbit, MESSENGER exceeded expectations by completing more than four years of scientific study of the innermost planet. On 30 April 2015, MESSENGER will have completely exhausted all onboard propellant, leaving no means to fight the persistent tug of the Sun's gravity, resulting in a 3.9 km/s impact with Mercury's ... [MORE]

From Medicine to Space: Impact of the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) on Society

  • Baliga, Jayant
  • Considered the most important innovation in power electronics during the last 35 years, the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) has had an enormous impact on creating a sustainable society by enhancing the comfort and convenience of billions of people while reducing energy consumption. They have become indispensable components in consumer appliances (refrigerators, microwave ovens, washing machines), industrial manufacturing (robotics, steel-mills), transportation (electronic ignition ... [MORE]

Project Dyna-Soar: a Shuttle Ahead of Its Time

  • Teitel, Amy Shira
  • The Air Force's Dyna-Soar might have been the first spacecraft to carry astronauts into orbit, launching atop a Titan missile and gliding unpowered to a runway landing, had history taken a very different path. Like the V-2 program that spawned some of the first American missiles, Dyna-Soar's roots were in an unrealized Nazi antipodal bombing technology and the concept arrived in the United States with the German scientists imported after the Second World. First pitched as a weapon to th... [MORE]

How the Future Was: Visual Speculations of Tomorrow and Beyond

  • Di Fate, Vincent
  • This is a visual survey of how images in the popular media helped pave our way into space. The presentation will include glimpses of Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon and other fictional adventurers from the press, early TV heroes such as Captain Video and Buzz Corey of the Space Patrol and images and clips from the Golden Age of science fiction films and before. Central to the presentation will be Collier's Magazine's famous 1950s space articles series and Disney's animated Tomorrowland episodes o ... [MORE]

Dead Dinosaurs and Nuclear Wars

  • Toon, Owen Brian
  • Sixty six million years ago a mountain sized chunk of rock traveling at more than 10 times the muzzle velocity of an assault rifle, slammed into the shallow sea covering what is now the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Shortly thereafter the 5th of the Earth's great mass extinctions occurred. The energy released by the impact was comparable to having a 1-megaton nuclear explosion spaced every 5 km over the Earth's surface. Massive tidal waves and earthquakes swept the Gulf of Mexico, an... [MORE]

Earth's Unique Continents

  • Rudnick, Roberta
  • The Earth is the only planet in our solar system with continents. Continents provide the habitat in which our species evolved, as well as the sustenance we need to survive. Yet how continents form, as well as when they formed, is still a matter of debate. This lecture will review current thinking on what continents are made of, and how they may have formed and evolved through time. [MORE]

Engineering at NASA HQ

  • Hyde, Tupper
  • I served as the Chief Engineer for the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) at NASA HQ for two plus years and have recently returned to Goddard. I thought the SE interest community at Goddard would be intrigued about what an engineer does at headquarters (hint: it's not really engineering). This talk will highlight how the engineering and reporting you do in projects makes it's way to and through headquarters. There will be a bit on how the Office of the Chief Engineer supports the mission dir ... [MORE]

Saturn's Icy Satellites

  • Spencer, John
  • In its ten years in Saturn orbit, NASA's Cassini mission has fleshed out our previous rudimentary knowledge of Saturn's satellites to provide a comprehensive picture of these remarkably diverse worlds. This talk will focus on what we have learned about the so-called "icy" moons (i.e. excluding the giant moon Titan). I'll discuss many of the mysteries that Cassini has helped us to unravel, including the two-faced nature of Iapetus, which is black on one side and white on the other side; ... [MORE]

Let it Rain and Snow: A Year of Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Mission Data

  • Skofronick-Jackson, Gail
  • Water is fundamental to life on Earth. Knowing where and how much rain and snow fall globally is vital to understanding how weather and climate impact our Earth's water and energy cycles. The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory spacecraft, a partnership with the Japanese, launched February 28, 2014. The GPM instruments are designed to extend the capabilities of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM, 1997-2015) by detecting falling snow, measuring light rain, ... [MORE]

Fracking - Evil Scourge or Game-Changing Technology?

  • Veil, John
  • This seminar will describe the size and scope of the U.S. oil and gas industry, and what impact oil and gas production using hydraulic fracturing has made on domestic and international energy supply. I will give some history on hydraulic fracturing and explain what the technology is and also what it is not. There is a great deal of misinformation about fracturing and its impacts on the environment and on society -- I will list some of the media concerns and offer an unemotional, factual poi ... [MORE]

Coronal Mass Ejections: from a Novelty to a Natural Hazard

  • Gopalswamy, Nat
  • Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were discovered only in 1971, but there were indications of such mass ejections starting from the late 1800s. Only in the 1990s it was realized that CMEs are the primary source of severe space weather that affects our technology in space and on ground. Before the 1990s, all space weather effects such as geomagnetic storms and solar particle radiation were attributed to solar flares, probably because of the fact that they were discovered more than a century befo ... [MORE]

Early Results from the MAVEN Mission to Mars

  • Jakosky, Bruce
  • The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has been orbiting Mars since 21 September 2014 and collecting data in science mode since 16 November 2014. The science objectives of the MAVEN mission are to characterize the upper atmosphere and ionospheric structure and composition, the interactions of the sun and the solar wind with the planet, and the processes driving loss of gas from the atmosphere to space. Our goal is to understand the chain of processes leading to escape ... [MORE]

Measuring the Universe

  • Lawrence, Charles
  • In less than a century we have advanced from knowing almost nothing about the Universe as a whole to measuring it with exquisite precision. In this process, the cosmic microwave background has played a dominant role. Why is the CMB so important, and what have we learned from the new measurements of it by the Planck spacecraft, launched in 2009? [MORE]

Fast Radio Bursts - the Story So Far

  • Lormier, Duncan
  • I will describe a brief history of discovery and some exciting recent developments in the world of pulsars and fast radio bursts. Pulsars, rapidly rotating highly magnetized neutron stars, were discovered in 1967 and continue to surprise and delight astronomers as powerful probes of fundamental physics and astrophysics. Fast radio bursts are millisecond-duration pulses of currently unknown origin that were discovered in 2007. Both pulsars and fast radio bursts have great promise at probing ... [MORE]

Eta Carinae: Astrophysical Laboratory for the Study of the Most Massive Stars

  • Gull, Theodore
  • Eta Carinae has fascinated astronomers since brightening in the 1840s to rival Sirius but then fading to the unaided eye. Today the Homunculus, a massive, dusty, molecular bipolar shell expands outward at 600 km/s. Its kinetic energy approaches that of a supernova event. The surviving core, a 5.54-year binary, is obscured in our line of sight by 4 to 5 magnitudes of primary wind. In another direction, the secondary wind periodically carves a cavity out of the primary wind, releasing prodigi ... [MORE]

The Future of Cancer Research

  • Gottesman, Michael
  • Enormous progress has been made in the past three decades in defining the molecular and genetic basis of cancer and in understanding the "hallmarks of cancer" that are the basis of its pathophysiology and potential targets for therapy. And this has resulted in remarkable breakthroughs in the treatment of many types of cancers, extending lives and eliminating the burdens of illness. Significant problems remain, however, in translating this knowledge into more effective cancer therapies, such ... [MORE]

Living Fossils

  • Werth, Alexander
  • Charles Darwin first coined the term "living fossil" to describe archaic forms, including lungfishes and horseshoe crabs, which seem not to have changed since their appearance in the fossil record hundreds of millions of years ago. As Darwin explained, evolution is not merely a chronicle of historical events but an ongoing process that is the fundamental basis of all life on Earth. Given that evolution is all about species changing over time, how can we explain such species as the coelacant ... [MORE]

Using Cat States in a Microwave Cavity for Quantum Information

  • Schoelkopf, Robert
  • Dramatic progress has been made in the last decade and a half towards realizing solid-state systems for quantum information processing with superconducting quantum circuits. Artificial atoms (or qubits) based on Josephson junctions have improved their coherence times a million-fold, have been entangled, and used to perform simple quantum algorithms. The next challenge for the field is demonstrating quantum error correction that actually improves the lifetimes, a necessary step for building ... [MORE]

Sensors for On-Orbit Docking

  • Granade, Stephen
  • Docking spacecraft autonomously while on orbit can provide many benefits, from uncrewed resupply of the ISS to robotic servicing of craft like the Hubble Space Telescope. However, autonomous docking has been limited by what sensors and sensor processing are available. We'll discuss the tradeoffs in sensor design, such as whether the sensor should work with specialized cooperative targets or uncooperative spacecraft. We'll also look at existing sensors such as the Russian Kurs system... [MORE]

The Interplanetary Transport Network

  • Folta, Dave
  • With careful trajectory planning, we can carry out missions that would otherwise be impossible with the rockets we have available. One familiar example of this method is the Voyager spacecraft, which used gravity assists to visit all of the gas giants of the outer solar system. Other examples include GFCS's Wind and ISEE-3 missions which utilized lunar gravity to achieve unique orbits close to Earth or to flyby a comet. The gravity assist flybys are examples of using trajectory design to re ... [MORE]

The Slide Rule: 350+ Years from Napier through the Manned Apollo Missions

  • Chamberlain, Edwin J
  • The slide rule -- a simple yet ingenious computing device -- was used by many engineers, scientists, and mathematicians as their primary means of computation for over 350 years, until the appearance of the electronic calculator in the mid-1970s. It was used in the design and construction of buildings, bridges, rockets, and even in the design of the electronic calculator that would ultimately replace it. This talk will cover the history of the slide rule, from its beginnings with mathematici ... [MORE]

Social Implications of Brain Emulation

  • Hanson, Robin
  • Can we foresee the future? Some say that while we can project some social trends, and dimly see outlines of some disruptive future techs, we just can't foresee social implications of disruptive techs. To show these views wrong, I take an oft-mentioned disruptive future tech and study its social consequences in great breadth and detail. The tech is: artificial intelligence in the form of whole brain emulations, a.k.a. "uploads" or "ems," sometime in the next century. I attempt a broad sy... [MORE]

Desert Worlds: the Dry Limit for Life

  • Diruggiero, Jocelyne
  • Microorganisms have inhabited the Earth for 3.4 billion years of its history, and they are key for the evolution of its major geochemical cycles and the composition of its atmosphere. Planets and moons explored thus far in our solar system harbor extreme environmental conditions where it is more likely to find microorganisms than any other form of life. When searching for habitable exoplanets, one has to consider the boundaries of the habitable zone, in particular at its inner-edge where so ... [MORE]

Infinite Worlds: NASA in Photographs

  • Soluri, Michael
  • The Hubble Space Telescope has been orbiting our blue dot of a water world for 25 years. It's engineering and scientific ability in capturing the ancient light of the universe has been the result of 5 shuttle based up-grade service missions. My presentation visually highlights the meaning I discovered during my three year photographic journey during STS125 - SM4, the historic and last of the Hubble servicing missions. From 2007 through 2009 I photographed at GSFC, as well as at JSC and KSC ... [MORE]

CubeSats: Innovation and Risk in the (tiny) New Space Frontier

  • Antunes, Alex "Sandy"
  • As tiny 1-liter CubeSats go from a handful to hundreds launched or proposed each year, we look at why it's both very easy and very hard to launch your own personal satellite mission. Popular among amateurs, early adopters, and career engineers alike, they have moved the space technology question from "who can build satellites" to the more evolved "what will you fly?"- and how will you manage it. As tech demos, science missions, and- in some views- tiny little space hazards-- these satellite ... [MORE]

Storm and Surge Risk to Major Coastal Cities in a Changing Climate

  • Emanuel, Kerry
  • Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy remind us that many of our coastal cities are vulnerable to hurricanes, and that much of the damage comes from surges that accompany the storms. But history is too short and imperfectly recorded to allow for a robust assessment of the existing risk, and rising sea levels and changing levels of storminess may render history a poor guide to the future anyway. In this talk, I will show how physics and computational science may be brought to bear on the problem of a ... [MORE]

GPR 7123.1B: System Engineering Requirements Update

  • Firman, Cynthia
  • The talk will be on the updates made to the GPR 7123 from version .1A to .1B for GSFC to be in compliance with the changes made from NPR 7123 version .1A to .1B. [MORE]

The Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST): The Great Observatory to Follow JWST

  • Thronson, Harley, Feinberg, Lee, Rioux, Norman
  • NASA's Science Mission Directorate has identified as a future high priority a very large-aperture space observatory operating from ultraviolet wavelengths into the near-infrared. The NRC in 2010 recommended that the agency begin design work this decade on such a mission, which would include as a major science goal the search for the spectral signatures of life in the atmospheres of Earth-like worlds in the solar neighborhood. With partners at JPL, MSFC, and STScI for such a mission, Goddard ... [MORE]

10 Years of Infrared Exploration with the Spitzer Space Telescope

  • Werner, Michael
  • In March of 2004, within a few months of the start of the scientific mission of the Spitzer Space Telescope, I talked here at GSFC about the scientific results that were only just starting to emerge from NASA's Great Observatory for infrared exploration of the Universe. Ten years later, we are awash in Spitzer data, and exciting new results continue to pour in from the observatory, which has now completed about a quarter of a revolution around the sun as seen from Earth. In this talk, I... [MORE]

Tracing Human Migration using Genetic Markers

  • Schanfield, Moses
  • Of all species on the face of the earth, humans are the most disperse, in that they occupy the most diverse eco-systems, present on all large land masses and most large islands. In recent time much work has been done using maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA, and non-recombinant Y (NRY) chromosome markers to map human migration and ancestry. In addition large numbers of other DNA based markers have been used for similar purposes. However, anthropological geneticists have been looking at ... [MORE]

Extreme Spacecraft Engineering

  • Kusnierkiewicz, David
  • The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Space Department has the privilege of conducting investigations of some of the most extreme places in the solar system for NASA. From exploring the Pluto system, 4.5 light-hours from Earth, to flying into the outer corona of the sun itself, or living in the Van Allen radiation belts around the Earth, APL spacecraft are (or will be) contributing to discoveries from one end of our solar system to the other. The challenges of delivering t ... [MORE]