The official launch of IYA 2009 at the University of Guelph will be marked with a large range of activities, including public outreach workshops, star-gazing camps and etc. The featured release of a new "star-studded" digital EP during a University function will be conducted by composer /singer and professor of physics Dr. Diane Nalini de Kerckhove.
This year was chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first use of a telescope.
The series of lectures will commence on 4th of March and the initial lecture will be delivered on "A Random Walk Through Ancient Astronomy" by an emeritus physics professor Dr. Jim Hunt.This will be followed by another lecture on "The Discovery of Extra-solar Planets" on 1st of April and this is to be delivered by Dr.Debra Fischer, astronomy professor at San Francisco State University.
Both lectures will be at 7 p.m. in Room 101 of Rozanski Hall
"The discovery of the first extra-solar planets in the 1990s was a landmark event," says de Kerckhove, co-organizer of this year's events. "It captured the imagination and really opened the public's mind to the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe." she added.
The featured release will be conducted by her, under her stage name, Diane Nalini, on March 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Rozanski Hall. The concert will launch a digital EP of astronomy-themed songs, recorded early this year in Toronto. The event is sponsored by the Office of the President.
Other Guelph IYA events include observatory viewings at the MacNaughton Building telescope during Alumni Weekend later this year. Organizers are planning to promote the events to local high schools and throughout Guelph and popularize the IYA 2009 while it lasts.
Speaking further, De Kerckhove said that she would hope participants could learn not just about the night sky but also about how science works and about the personal side of early astronomers, including Galileo, Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, who had rendered an enoromous service towards the upheaval of astronomy. Lastly she was quoted saying "Astronomy to me has a beautiful purity. It's about understanding how we fit into the world."For more information, check out the website
Function tickets are available at the University Bookstore and Ground Floor Music