Mudd Talks: “An Astronomer’s View of the Periodic Table of Elements”

September 29, 2021 Add to Calendar

5–6 p.m.



The Harvey Mudd Office of Alumni & Parent Relations presents the virtual discussion series Mudd Talks.

The basic elements of nature—hydrogen, helium and up through the actinides, like thorium and uranium—provide clues to the universe and how it works. From the birth of the first elements during the Big Bang to the production of those heavies in merging neutron stars, the elements are key to understanding stars and galaxies. We’ll explore the origin of elements through the history of the universe, and the insights we get from where we find them and where we don’t.

This event is open to everyone. Students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni are welcome to join.

Catherine “Caty” Anderson Pilachowski ’71 (physics), a 2021 HMC Outstanding Alumna, has made distinguished contributions to stellar astrophysics and to the astronomical community. She spent 22 years as an astronomer with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) before joining Indiana University in 2001 as professor and the inaugural Daniel Kirkwood Chair in the Department of Astronomy. Pilachowski was the first to recognize the importance of comparing the chemical compositions among large numbers of clusters and large numbers of stars within individual clusters. She also was instrumental to the realization of the Wisconsin-Indiana-Yale-NOAO 3.5-m telescope and contributed to the international Gemini Observatory project. Active in the areas of astronomical instrumentation, large telescope design and construction, electronic publications, women in science, and astronomy education, Pilachowski has published over 330 papers and her research has received over $1.7 million in funding. She has served on numerous national and international committees and boards, including Instituto de Astrofisica de Canaris. She was president of the American Astronomical Society (2002–2004), and she is a Fellow of that organization as well as of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In September 2020, Pilachowski received the IU Bicentennial Medal in recognition of her distinguished contributions to Indiana University.

Register to receive meeting information and to share your questions in advance.