Public talk by Edward C. Stone: Voyager in Interstellar Space and The Universe in High Definition


Edward C. Stone from Caltech will give a public talk at 20:00, on 6 June, 2016, in Room 202, Natural Science Teaching Building, Peking University. Everyone is welcome.



Voyager in Interstellar Space and The Universe in High Definition


Launched in 1977 to explore Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, the two Voyager spacecraft revealed a solar system of surprising diversity that greatly enlarged our terracentric understanding of planets and moons.  The two Voyagers have since continued their ways far beyond the planets.  After a thirty-five-year journey, Voyager 1 left the giant bubble of solar plasma surrounding the sun and began exploring interstellar space.  But the immense Universe beyond Voyager can be explored only with advanced groundbased telescopes such as the twin Kecks developed twenty years ago.  They pioneered the development of ten-meter segmented mirrors combined with laser guide stars and adaptive optics for reducing the blurring effects of atmospheric turbulence.  However, the first stars and galaxies that are the most distant in the Universe as well as dim planets orbiting nearby brighter stars require a much larger telescope.  When completed in the coming decade, the Thirty Meter Telescope will build on the Keck technologies to reveal the Universe both near and far in extraordinarily high definition.



Edward C. Stone is an internationally known physicist and a space exploration pioneer.  He received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago, and has been on the faculty at Caltech since 1964. 


Stone’s astrophysics career goes back to his first cosmic-ray experiments on Discoverer satellites in 1961. Since 1972, he has been the chief scientist of NASA's Voyager Mission. Launched in 1977 on a grand tour of the giant planets in the outer solar system, the twin Voyager spacecraft have traveled farther from the Sun (135 AU or 20 billion km) than any other human-made object. In 2012, Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space- the space between the stars.

Stone was the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab from 1991 to 2001. Highlights of his decade of JPL leadership include Galileo's mission to Jupiter, the launch of Cassini to Saturn, the successful Mars Pathfinder landing, the launch of Mars Global Surveyor, and a new generation of Earth science satellites such as TOPEX/Poseidon and SeaWinds. 


From the late 1980s through 2009, Stone served as chair and vice chair of the Board of Directors of the non-profit association that has been responsible for building and operating the W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.  With two ten-meter telescopes, Keck pioneered the development of large segmented-mirror optical/infrared telescopes. He is currently the Morrisroe Professor of Physics at Caltech and the Executive Director of the TMT International Observatory, LLC, that is responsible for building and operating the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1984, Stone has been recognized with numerous awards, among them the National Medal of Science, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Carl Sagan Memorial Award, and the Howard Hughes Memorial Award.