Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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A Public Lecture by Jason Kendall: "The Big Bang: How it all Began"

A Public Lecture for the Science Fiction Association of Bergen County
Saturday, January 10
Free for members of the Museum, $3 for non-members.

The science of astronomy has always opened new doors to discovery when a new observing technology is developed. In 1609 Galileo looked to the heavens with the first telescope, beginning what we now call the Scientific Era. In 1931, Karl Jansky viewed the sky in radio waves, seeing the Sun's emission and heralding a new vision of the cosmos. During the Cold War, orbiting gamma-ray treaty-monitoring telescopes detected elusive signals from the deaths of massive stars.

Now, in 2015, a new era of observation will commence. It is then that the very first gravitational wave sources will be seen by the LIGO and VIRGO gravitational wave detectors. This completely new area of observation will be able to probe the final milliseconds of colliding black holes, as space-time warps and twists under their violent death-dance. As a neutron star rotates, tiny changes in its crust cause starquakes that would make a nuclear bomb look like a firefly. Even more tantalizing, gravitational waves are thought to be produced during the first moments of the Big Bang. The first detection will open up a new field of discovery, as we listen for the sounds of the ringing universe.

Now with the latest results from the BICEP2 collaboration, there is tantalizing evidence that these primordial gravitational waves have been detected and that their detection leads researchers to think that the Inflationary epoch really did happen in the first moments after the Big Bang.

This lecture session will go over the elements of the Big Bang, and focus on the inflationary paradigm.

Jason Kendall, Astronomy Liaison at William Paterson University, will lead you on a journey into the next great uncharted country from whose bourne, the first traveler may return.

About Jason Kendall

I am currently adjunct faculty at William Paterson University teaching astronomy. I hold a Master of Science in Astronomy from New Mexico State University. I am also a board member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York. Since 2008, I have led the Inwood Astronomy Project which brought over 200 events of stargazing and public astronomy outreach to upper Manhattan, including the historic Inwood Star Fest, where Inwood Hill Park lights were turned off as part of the 100 Hours of Astronomy event in IYA2009. This was the first time in New York City history when park lights were turned off for an astronomy event. I've also focused on park safety due to an uptick in sexual assaults in Washington Heights and Inwood during 2011. I've worked to make our parks safer by encouraging public use of parks at night through night-time events with Park Rangers. I have led numerous "starwatching parties" and astronomy events in New York City, New Mexico, Minnesota, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas. I am also proud to have been part of the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Program from 2009 to 2012. It all started way back in the fourth grade by the encouragement of two noted astronomers, Charles Schweighauser and Bart Bok. I saw Saturn through Charlie's telescope at then Sangamon State University on a clear Illinois night, and Bart encouraged me under those stars to study hard to come visit him at Kitt Peak National Observatory. I finally did make it down there about a decade after Bart passed away, and I found the favorite spots in Tucson, Arizona, where Bart and his wife Priscilla would spend when they were not gazing at the stars. Bart and his wife were pioneers in the study of the Milky Way, and their studies of the starforming regions called Bok Globules. It's even in my family. My great-grandfather was a Midwestern minister who used to preach his sermons out under the dark, cloudless nights. He always believed that getting out and experiencing the wonders of the natural world was a central part of being human. My family has always been inspired by his words: "We look up to look within." I hope that you'll join me under the stars or at one of my talks.

Come see what's up in the sky!

Jason Kendall

We look up to look within

William Paterson University Department of Physics American Astronomical Society Astronomical Society of the Pacific Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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