Sacred Heart students were blessed again to have another high-profile Physicist from NASA come and speak to the Science classes. It was Dr. Paul Hertz (Director of Astrophysics at NASA)
Dr. Hertz is responsible for the research programs and missions that are undertaken at NASA that enable scientists to explore;
- how the universe works,
- how the universe began and developed into its present form,
- and to search for Exoplanets. In particular Earth-like planets.
Dr. Hertz spoke to the Grade 10 girls and a number of the AP Physics class about 'The Search for Life on Planets around Other Stars'. This presentation gave great insight into the history of Exoplanet discovery, the three ways in which scientists search for Exoplanets, the current missions that NASA is undertaking in finding Exoplanets and also looked at the future mission (James Webb space telescope) that will be launched in 2021. There was a great Q&A session at the end with plenty of interest displayed by the students.
Most recently Dr. Hertz was one of the lead scientists for the collaboration work that produced the Black Hole photograph that was captured for the first time. This was done with an international network of radio telescopes placed all over the Earth called the Event Horizon Telescope which effectively gave the team a radio telescope as large as the Earth.