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Robert Kirshner, author of "The Extravagant Universe: Exploding Stars, Dark Energy and the Accelerating Cosmos" will speak as part of the Old Dominion University President's Lecture Series at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4 in the Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building.

Science Magazine named Kirshner's work on the acceleration of the universe the "Science Breakthrough of the Year" for 1998. That same year he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Kirshner is a professor of astronomy at Harvard University and an associate director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He has written 200 research papers dealing with supernovae, the large-scale distribution of galaxies, and the size and shape of the universe.

A frequent public lecturer on science, Kirshner received his doctorate in astronomy from California Institute of Technology. He teaches a course called "Matter in the Universe" to undergraduate students at Harvard. The vivid (and sometimes slightly hazardous) demonstrations in his class led to his being featured in Boston Magazine's October 1998 article on "Nutty Professors." Kirshner is president of the American Astronomical Society and has also written for National Geographic, Natural History, Scientific American and Sky & Telescope.

Kirshner graduated from Harvard in 1970 and received his Ph.D. in astronomy at California Institute of Technology four years later. After working at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson and the University of Michigan, he joined the Harvard astronomy department in 1986. He served as department chair from 1990-97.

For more information call 683-3114.

This article was posted on: October 5, 2004

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