From the Program Chair

by John Church, Program Chair

We were scheduled to have AAAP Member Ken Kremer speak on May 10th, but he had to cancel very recently due to commitments at the Kennedy Space Center, where he has a press pass.  Hopefully, he can be rescheduled for sometime this Fall.

Instead, Princeton Astrophysical Sciences graduate student Khee-Gan Lee will present a talk entitled:  “Quasars and the Lyman-alpha Forest: A Look into the Cosmic Boom Town,” at the upcoming May 10 meeting in Peyton Hall.

"KG" Lee

"KG" Lee

“KG,” as he is known, grew up in Malaysia, and was an undergraduate at University College, London, UK, where he earned a degree in physics and space science. He arrived in Princeton in 2006 to work on his doctorate, which he expects to finish this fall.  Next, KG will be going to a post-doctoral research position at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany.

Regarding the evening’s presentation, KG writes “Quasars are among the most distant objects in the universe, visible in large numbers at an era when the universe was only a tenth of its current age. Powered by supermassive black holes in the middle of galaxies, these objects shine like beacons across the universe. Along its multi-billion parsec journey, quasar light gets absorbed by neutral hydrogen along its path.  This absorption pattern is called the Lyman-alpha forest.  It provides a unique probe of matter distribution in the universe.  I will introduce the concept of quasars via a historical narrative of their discovery in the 1960s all the way through to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in the present day. I will then explain the astrophysics of the Lyman-alpha forest, and give a flavor for the insights they give into the universe.”

There will be a pre-meeting dinner for our speaker at 6 PM before the 8 PM meeting.  Please email me ( by no later than noon on Tuesday, May 10th for a reservation.  I will respond by 1 pm with the dinner location.

To round out our current season, we will have our traditional presentation by former AAAP Director Bill Murray in the New Jersey State Planetarium in Trenton on June 14th.

At this time, I would like to express my sincere thanks to John Giles, Ira Polans, and Director Ludy D’Angelo for their support in arranging speakers for this past year.  To assist our incoming Program Chair, there are several other possible speakers already lined up for the next session.

This entry was posted in May 2011, Sidereal Times and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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