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K-State Today

March 27, 2014



Melott to present 2014 Peterson general public lecture in physics about the astrophysical threats to life on Earth

By Kim Coy

Dr. Adrian Melott

Adrian Melott, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Kansas, will present the 2014 Chester Peterson Jr. Public Lecture in Physics. This lecture, "Death from the Skies: Astrophysical Threats to Life on Earth" will be at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, in Town Hall at the Leadership Studies Building. This lecture will not be of a technical level and is geared toward the general public.

During his lecture, Melott will discuss his research on astrophysical threats to life on Earth, such as impacts from asteroids, radiation events and solar flares from the sun that may be strong enough to cause mass extinction or to bring our technological society to its knees. Most of these things are completely unpredictable and constitute a threat at some level.

Melott received his doctorate in physics at the University of Texas. He was an IREX fellow at Moscow State University and an Enrico Fermi fellow at the University of Chicago prior to joining the University of Kansas in 1990. In 1996, he was named a fellow of the American Physical Society for groundbreaking studies of the origin and evolution of cosmic structure. He was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007 for distinguished contributions to cosmological large-scale structure, for organizing public support for teaching evolution and for interdisciplinary research on astrophysical impacts on the biosphere.

Melott's work has been featured on the National Geographic program "Extinctions" as well as on the Weather Channel's "Forecasting the End."

The lecture is open to the public and is free of charge. Students, faculty and community members are encouraged to attend to hear about Melott's work. Refreshments will be served prior to the lecture at 4 p.m. in Room 123 of the Leadership Studies Building.

This lecture series is supported by an endowment from Chester Peterson Jr. aimed at publicizing and presenting an annual public lecture series concerning cosmology or quantum mechanics.