Nov 2017 Program


Catastrophic Meteorite Impacts on Earth

William I. Newman
UCLA Professor, Astronomy and Physics
William NewmanProfessor Newman will explore the threat of extermination of life on Earth by an extreme impact event. At least five have taken place during the last 200 million years, and our moon was created by a supermassive event much earlier. There are extraordinary numbers of such materials in our outer solar system. How is it that we are still alive? Professor Newman and his colleagues have demonstrated by using advanced computational methods that we are remarkably immune to such events, but that doesn’t explain why they occur. The basis of modern science is to develop a physics-based theory, a conjecture demonstrated by independently repeated testing, to explain what we observe.

William I. Newman is a Professor in the Departments of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, and Mathematics at UCLA. He earned a B.Sc.(Hon.) and M.Sc. in physics (University of Alberta), and an M.S. and Ph.D. in astronomy and space science (Cornell). He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and he is a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. His research interests range from theoretical geophysics and astrophysics to signal processing and advanced computational methods, from pattern formation in nature to theoretical biology. He has published over 100 papers and graduate textbooks, and has received much international recognition over 30 years.

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