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Skidmore College

Odekon to deliver Moseley lecture

February 28, 2018

Skidmore physics professor Mary Crone Odekon will present the college's annual Edwin M. Moseley Faculty Research Lecture at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 6 in Gannett Auditorium, Palamountain Hall. The title of the lecture is "Galaxies in the 21st Century." The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the Class of 1967 Lobby of Palamountain Hall.

Mary Crone Odekon
Mary Crone Odekon

Odekon is the Kenan Chair of Liberal Arts and an astrophysicist specializing in the formation of galaxies and large-scale structure of the universe. She has approached the problem from multiple perspectives, including computer simulations, Hubble Space Telescope observations and radio telescope data from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Her work has been published in professional journals including the Astrophysical Journal and American Journal of Physics. Odekon holds a B.S. from the College of William and Mary and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She has been teaching at Skidmore since 1997, offering classes on topics including general physics and astronomy, galaxies, the human colonization of space, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, cosmology and electricity and magnetism.

"The discovery of galaxies as immense 'island universes' a hundred years ago propelled a revolution in our understanding of the cosmos," Odekon writes. "We now find ourselves in an expanding universe of trillions of galaxies connected by a vast cosmic web—a universe where primordial hydrogen gas is gradually converted into stars and planets with the potential to host life.

"Equally amazing, the methods of astronomical discovery allow us to use outer space as an enormous laboratory to study conditions too extreme for any terrestrial experiment. In this lecture, I will argue that a particularly important shift in our understanding is that we can actually no longer consider galaxies to be isolated island universes; to understand them, we must consider their interactions with the invisible web of matter than joins them all together."

The annual Moseley lecture highlights compelling, original research in scholarly and creative work and is the highest honor the Skidmore faculty can confer upon a peer. Established in 1957, the lecture was named in 1979 to honor the memory of Edwin M. Moseley, whose 17 years at Skidmore capped a distinguished 41-year career in higher education. Moseley had come to Skidmore in 1961 as professor of English and as the college's first dean of the faculty. A noted scholar, author and teacher specializing in Renaissance and modern literature, Moseley had been selected in 1967 by his fellow faculty members to give what was then known as the Annual Faculty Research Lecture.

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