News

Willamette University features acclaimed planetary scientist

On Feb. 9 at 8 p.m., Willamette University’s Atkinson Lecture Series will feature Carolyn Porco, acclaimed scientist, communicator and imaging team leader for the Cassini mission to the Saturnian system.

Porco will highlight the discoveries made so far by the Cassini spacecraft and its Huygens probe. In 2005, the probe landed on Titan - the first landing in the outer solar system.

Cassini images trace coastal shores along Titan’s liquid hydrocarbon seas; others depict icy jets erupting from the surface of Saturn’s moon, Enceladus. The mission’s visually stunning images and crucial data not only give scientists perspective into the nature of the Saturnian system, they demonstrate that conditions for life may be more abundant than once believed.

Porco has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers in the planetary sciences. Winner of the Carl Sagan Medal for her skill at communicating scientific exploration to the general public, Porco regularly appears on television and has written popular science articles in a variety of publications, including The Guardian, Sunday Times, “New Statesman” and “Scientific American.”

She was the science advisor on the 2009 film “Star Trek” and the character consultant on the 1997 movie “Contact,” for which Carl Sagan personally invited Porco to consult. Among her many accolades, “Wired” described Porco as was one of 15 people the U.S. president should listen to, and Sunday Times named her among the top 18 leaders of the 21st century.

Porco created CICLOPS, where Cassini images are shared with the public, and she is CEO of Diamond Sky Productions, a company devoted to the scientific and artful use of planetary images and computer graphics for the presentation of science to the public.

Tickets
General admission seating is $10, and doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. presentation. Buy tickets or learn more at willamette.edu/events/atkinson_lecture.



01-30-2012