NCAR public talks celebrate 50 years of scientific discovery

January 14, 2010

BOULDER--The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is partnering with the Boulder Public Library to present a series of public talks and a new exhibit to mark the research organization's 50th anniversary this year.

Walter Orr RobertsWalter Orr Roberts, solar scientist and the founding director of NCAR, with the 5 inch coronagraph he built with the assistance of Hobart P. French and his Harvard Ph.D. advisor Donald Howard Menzel. This, only the third coronagraph in the world and the first in the western hemisphere, was made possible by Don Menzel's entrepreneurial skills and Walt's technical capabilities.

"It's been an amazing half-century for NCAR and UCAR and for the field of atmospheric science," says Richard Anthes, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages NCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation (NSF). "There is incredible potential for future achievements that our history has made possible."

"NCAR science is on the forefront of atmospheric research. It's a wonderful opportunity for our community to learn more about the exciting science that goes on right on our doorstep," says Donna Gartenmann, arts and cultural programs manager at the Boulder Public Library.

NCAR solar scientist Sarah Gibson will present the first talk on Wednesday, January 27, at 7:00 p.m. in the Main Library's Canyon Theater. Gibson will discuss how researchers probe the origins and dramatic manifestations of solar magnetism, and how they seek to understand and predict its impacts on Earth's environment.

Other talks scheduled throughout the year will focus on severe weather, coral reefs, hazard warning systems, and the role of population in climate change.

In addition, library visitors can now view a new exhibit on the 50th anniversary that highlights NCAR's major events and discoveries. These range from early observations of the solar corona by Walter Orr Roberts, who would become NCAR's first director, to the global explorations of the new NSF/NCAR Gulfstream V research aircraft. Artifacts such as a model of a 1.6-pound hailstone that was collected in 1970 accompany the exhibit, which is located on the library bridge over Boulder Creek. The display will run through February and is open during library hours.

See talk schedule below



Public talk schedule

All talks will take place at 7:00 p.m. in the Boulder Public Library's Canyon Theater, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, Colorado, 80302. Telephone: 303-441-3100

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Living "in" a Star: You Will Never Look at the Sun the Same Way Again
Sarah Gibson

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Twisters, Chasers, and Thunderstorms: A Half-Century of Severe Weather Science
Robert Henson

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Carbon Dioxide and the Ocean: The Acid Test of Climate Change
Joanie Kleypas

Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Turbulence, Wind Shear, Toxin Attacks, and Other Things that Go Bump in the Night: Applied Research for Real-Life Problems
Bill Mahoney

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Population and Climate Change: Silver Bullet or Red Herring?
Brian O'Neill


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The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.