Heaven's Kitchens - Primordial Soup, Stellar Entrées, and Galactic Dessert
Saturday, February 9, 2008
1 p.m., Avaya Auditorium, 2.302 ACES
Lecture Presentation Slides (pdf)
Dr. David Lambert
Director, The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory
Isabel McCutcheon Harte Centennial Chair in Astronomy
Understanding the origins of the chemical elements must rank near
the top in an intelligent citizen's list of questions about the
natural world. Thanks to the efforts of astrophysicists over the
last half-century, that citizen may now be provided with fairly
complete answers to "Where, when, and how were the elements made?"
This talk will highlight the astronomical observations and the
theoretical ideas showing that the elements in the cosmos are the
result of nuclear "cooking" in the Big Bang 13 billion years ago and
in stars and interstellar gas ever since the Big Bang. Several open
issues concerning element synthesis will be aired.
David L. Lambert is the Director of McDonald Observatory and holds the Isabel McCutcheon Harte Centennial
Chair in Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2007, he was named winner of the Henry Norris Russell
Lectureship, the highest award of the American Astronomical Society.
Born and educated in England, Lambert obtained
a B.A. in physics in 1960 and a D. Phil. in solar physics in 1965
from the University of Oxford. His contributions to research in astronomical spectroscopy have been recognized
with numerous prestigious awards and appointments, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship
(1990-81) and the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics by the American Institute of Physics and the American
Astronomical Society (1987).
Prior to assuming the directorship of McDonald Observatory, he served as Chair of the University of Texas at
Austin Department of Astronomy (2002-2003).
Lambert is one of the most productive and innovative astronomers in the world. In more than 40 years of
research, he has published more than 460 research articles.
Lambert's current research emphasizes precise analyses of the composition of evolved stars to determine how
the chemical elements are synthesized by stars, along with studies of the chemical evolution of the Milky Way galaxy
as revealed by the chemical composition of unevolved stars.
The Great Lectures in Astronomy series features distinguished speakers presenting a topic in modern astronomy
for interested non-astronomers. The lectures are sponsored by the McDonald Observatory and Department of Astronomy
Board of Visitors.