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K-State Today

May 3, 2011



Internationally recognized physics scholar Kameshwar Wali to present 2011 Peterson public lecture in physics

By Julie Fosberg

The universe of X-ray astronomy will be examined in K-State's 2011 Peterson Public Lecture in Physics. 

Kameshwar Wali, an internationally known physicist, will present "Exploring the Invisible Universe: Chandra X-ray Satellite Laboratory" at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, in Hale Library's Hemisphere Room. The lecture is free and open to the public. Wali's lecture is a non-technical talk and is part of the Peterson Public Lecture Series in Physics.

Wali is a distinguished research professor emeritus of physics at the University of Syracuse. His research focuses on symmetry properties and dynamics of elementary particles. He has also researched and written a book on Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Indian-American physicist for whom the Chandra X-ray observatory is named. 

"He has a lot of knowledge about the science and the man," said Dean Zollman, university distinguished professor of physics and head of the department of physics. "Since this is a public lecture, that combination makes a good fit for a talk to non-science people." 

His lecture will feature a brief history of X-ray astronomy and the unique features of the Chandra X-ray telescope. A selection of the telescope's remarkable and fascinating pictures also will be included. The Chandra X-ray telescope is best suited for examining X-rays from stars. 

"It gives us a unique perspective on what types of objects are out there," Zollman said. "As well as what types of interactions can be going on in the stars and galaxies." 

Chester Peterson Jr., Lindsborg, endowed the Peterson Public Lecture Series in Physics in 2006. He earned two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree from K-State. Peterson founded the lecture series to serve as a catalyst to interest everyone in the fascinating world of modern physics. Those ideas correspond with the interests of the department of physics.

"Having a public lecture that focuses on communicating with people who do not have a strong background in science is an important part of our educational mission," Zollman said.