Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures

August 2nd, 1999 - June 1st, 2013 | PROJECT

Founded in 1999, the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures are non-technical illustrated public lectures, presented on six Wednesday evenings during each school year at Foothill College, in the heart of California's Silicon Valley. Speakers over the years have included a Nobel-prize winner, members of the National Academy of Sciences, the first woman in history to discover a planet, an astrophysicist who is an award-winning science fiction writer, and many other well-known scientists explaining astronomical developments in everyday language. The series is jointly sponsored by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the SETI Institute, NASA's Ames Research Center, and the Foothill College Astronomy Program. In-kind funding and staff time is contributed by the sponsoring organizations. The lectures are held and videotaped in the 950-seat Smithwick Theater in Los Altos Hills. Thanks to a generous grant from an anonymous local donor, each lecture is now video and audio taped, professionally edited, and made available free of charge on a number of web sites. Videotaped lectures include: * Frank Drake discussing his modern view of the Drake Equation, * Sandra Faber on how galaxies were "cooked" from the primordial soup, * Michael Brown explaining how his discovery of Eris led to the demotion of Pluto, * Alex Filippenko talking about the latest ideas and observations of black holes, * Natalie Batalha sharing the latest planet discoveries from the Kepler mission, * Anthony Aguirre discussing how it is possible to have multiple universes, and * Chris McKay updating the Cassini discoveries about Saturn's moon Titan.

Project Website(s)

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Project Products

Team Members

Andrew Fraknoi, Principal Investigator, Foothill College


Funding Source: NASA

Funding Source: Donor


Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Space science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Public Events and Festivals | Public Programs