October 19, 2017

TED talk vet to speak at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — TED talk veteran, author and astronomer Phil Plait will be the first speaker in a new series of Science Talks Series at Purdue University.

Plait will discuss the ways the world might end in a scientific but entertaining look at giant impacts from cosmic objects, including asteroids, cometary debris and extinction-level events. He’ll talk about how these events have shaped our history, how they could do so again and why Hollywood always seems to get them wrong. The event is free and open to the public and will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 28 at Loeb Playhouse in the Stewart Center, 128 Memorial Mall.

Plait has given talks about science and pseudoscience across the United States and internationally. He uses images, audio and video clips in entertaining and informative multimedia presentations packed with humor and backed by science. He has spoken at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Hayden Planetarium.

After earning his doctorate in astronomy at the University of Virginia, Plait worked on the Hubble Space Telescope as a NASA contractor at the Goddard Space Flight Center. He began a career in public outreach and education with the Bad Astronomy blog and website, debunking bad science and popular misconceptions. The book “Bad Astronomy” was released in 2002, followed by “Death from the Skies!” in 2008. He also wrote and hosted an educational web series called “Crash Course Astronomy.” He hosted the TV show “Phil Plait’s Bad Universe” on the Discovery Channel in 2010 and was the head science writer for “Bill Nye Saves the World” on Netflix. Plait’s blog has been hosted by Discover Magazine, Slate, and now Syfy Wire.

The talk will be hosted by the Purdue chapter of the Society of Applied Spectroscopy in collaboration with Imagination Station Lafayette and with support from the Student Organization Grant Allocation Board. The series aims to bring world-class science speakers from across the globe to engage discussion among students, faculty and the public on various scientific topics.

Writer: Kayla Zacharias, 765-494-9318, kzachar@purdue.edu

Source: Prasoon Diwakar, 765-494-6984, pdiwakar@purdue.edu

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