Spring CASPER Seminars Feature Dr. Glenn Lightsey and Dr. Francisco Ayala

Jan. 27, 2011

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Baylor University's Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research (CASPER) will kick off this semester's seminar series with Dr. Glenn Lightsey, an aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He will speak at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28, in room C105 of the Baylor Sciences Building on the Baylor campus.

CASPER is an interdisciplinary center that covers a variety of scientific topics. Speakers are invited with respect to their field of work. All seminars are free and open to the public.

"The seminars are a unique opportunity to get first-hand information about ongoing research and also to enter a discussion with well-known experts in their fields," said Dr. René Laufer, CASPER associate research scientist.

Previously employed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Lightsey is leading the small satellite development at UT's Satellite Design Lab and was responsible for the recently launched FASTRAC missions consisting of two satellites.

CASPER will continue its series with Dr. Francisco Ayala, a biology and philosophy professor at the University of California at Irvine.

Ayala will speak on "Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion" at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, and on "The Molecular Clock of Evolution" at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25. The location for both seminars has not been announced. These events are co-hosted by Baylor's Office of the Vice Provost for Research.

Ayala received the National Medal of Science in 2001 and is an internationally recognized expert in his field. In addition to his research in genetics and the origin of diseases, he also is interested in the philosophy of biology and ethics, and the relationship between science and religion.

"We invite world-class and awarded scientists who are working on projects trying to study and uncover open questions at the frontier of scientific work," Laufer said.

CASPER is an official Baylor research center formed by a partnership between Baylor and Texas State Technical College-Waco. Space research within CASPER has a proud heritage dating back to the 1960s, including flight projects from Explorer I forward. Personnel within the Center have been actively involved on a number of NASA and ESA flight missions.

For more information, please visit baylor.edu/casper.

by Susie Typher, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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