Wallin’s Feb. 1 ‘Cosmic Chemistry’ talk begins MTSU spring Star Party series

The spring MTSU Department of Physics and Astronomy Star Party series begins Friday, Feb. 1, when professor John Wallin discusses “Cosmic Chemistry” in Wiser-Patten Science Hall Room 102.

First Friday Star Parties are a way for the department to bring MTSU, Murfreesboro and surrounding communities together. There will be a lecture followed by telescope viewing outdoors, weather permitting.

The event, which is free, is open to the general public and MTSU students and faculty. Attendees should dress warmly for the outdoor portion.

To find free parking after 6 p.m. and Wiser-Patten, visit http://tinyurl.com/MTParkingMap online. Handicap parking requires a state permit.

Wallin will talk primarily about “a really basic question — where did your atoms come from?” during his 45- to 60-minute talk starting at 6:30 p.m.

“Even though this seems like an impossible question to answer, we have come to a good understanding of the cosmic origin of the elements,” Wallin said. “It isn’t a simple story, but the atoms in your body come from six different cosmic processes. From the origin of the universe to the hearts of supernova, we will discuss cosmic nucleosynthesis.”

Wallin said a quote from the late Carl Sagan, a U.S. astronomer, is quite fitting: “In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you first must create the universe.”

“We are going to explore the very first steps in the recipe,” Wallin added.

Other spring Star Parties include:

  • March 15 —“Something About Time,” featuring associate professor Nat Smith.
  • April 5 — “Small Bodies in the Solar System,” featuring assistant professor Jana Ruth Ford.
  • May 3 — “50-year Anniversary of the Moon Landing,” featuring instructor Irina Perevalova.

Including physics and astronomy, MTSU has more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. Physics and astronomy are one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments.

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