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News Release

Date: March 3, 2008
Media Contact: Elizabeth Homan, 240-567-7970; Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

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Montgomery College Hosts Spectrum Lecture on Hubble Space Telescope
NASA’s Dr. H. John Wood to Talk and Show Telescope’s Images at Germantown Campus, March 20

Dr. H. John Wood, optics lead engineer on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Project, will speak at Montgomery College-Germantown on Thursday, March 20 as part of the College's fall 2007 Spectrum Lecture Series. His talk entitled "Understanding the Beautiful Pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope” will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Globe Hall, which is located in the High Technology and Science Center, 20200 Observation Drive, Germantown, Md. This event is free and open to the public.

Like all Spectrum Lectures, Dr. Wood’s presentation is designed for a nonscientific audience, enabling scientists, students, and the community to learn about ground-breaking advancements in science. Orbiting high above the turbulence of the earth’s atmosphere, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is providing breathtaking views of astronomical objects never before seen in such detail. The steady images allow this medium-sized telescope to reach the faintest galaxies ever seen by mankind. Some of these galaxies are seen as early as two billion years after the Big Bang in a 13.7 billion year old universe. HST has allowed dramatic advances in all fields of astronomy and astrophysics since its launch in April 1990. Now, after 15 years of successful operations in space, the HST has provided Dr. Wood with another epiphany—the essence or meaning of objects in the sky. A selection of some of the most beautiful images will demonstrate the power and utility of the HST.

Dr. H. John Wood is an astronomer and serves as an optical engineer for the Optics Branch at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Since June 1990, he has been Optics Lead Engineer on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Project. A graduate of Swarthmore College, Dr. Wood earned the M.A. and Ph.D. in Astronomy from Indiana University. He has been at Goddard Space Flight Center for over 20 years. In addition to the Hubble Project, he has been Lead Optical Engineer on other Goddard projects: the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter and the Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment aboard the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE).

Winner of the 1992 NASA exceptional service medal and the 1994 NASA exceptional achievement medal for his work on COBE and HST, he is the author of over 50 research papers in astronomy and space optics.

For questions or to request accommodations for physical disability, please contact Dr. Susan Bontems, assistant professor of chemistry at 240-567-7740 or susan.bontems@montgomerycollege.edu.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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