John A. Johnson, assistant professor of astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, will give the 2013 Carl K. Seyfert Lecture in Astronomy at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, in the Central Library Community Room at the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. The event is open to the public. A reception will precede the lecture.
Johnson will discuss the success of NASA’s Kepler mission, which has identified hundreds of potentially habitable Earth-sized and smaller planets in the Milky Way, and Project Minerva, an innovative observation facility that uses an array of small telescopes rather than a single large telescope.
An alumnus of the University of Missouri-Rolla, Johnson undertook his master’s and doctoral studies at the University of California-Berkeley. His research centers on the detection and characterization of exoplanets—planets outside our solar system.
The Seyfert Lecture in astronomy and space exploration is presented annually in memory of Carl Seyfert, who joined Vanderbilt’s astronomy faculty in 1946. Seyfert was charged with the construction of the Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory and became its first director in 1953, serving until his death in 1960. The Seyfert lecture is sponsored by the Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory and the Department of Astronomy and Physics.
A discussion session with Johnson will follow at the Dyer Observatory at 6 p.m. Reservations are required. (Note: The discussion session at Dyer is full; please register online for a place on the waiting list.)