2024 Herzberg and Plenary Speakers

This page is under construction. More details will be added as they become available.

Herzberg Memorial Public Lecture:

Monday, May 27, 19h30-20h30

Dr. John E. Moores

Science Advisor to the President, Canadian Space Agency & York University

John E Moores is the York Research Chair in Space Exploration, the Science Advisor to the President of the Canadian Space Agency and the Director of the Technologies for Exo/Planetary Science NSERC CREATE. He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists and the recipient of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute’s 2022 McCurdy Award. John holds a B.A.Sc. from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Planetary Science. An author on nearly 80 peer-reviewed publications in planetary science, John has also been a member of five NASA and ESA-led space mission teams and led the pre-selection development of the FROST Lyman-alpha imager manifested on the Canadian Lunar Rover currently in development, the first planetary exploration mission led by Canada. The contributions of his research group to robotic space exploration have been recognized with sixteen NASA group achievement awards. His first popular science book, Daydreaming in the Solar System, co-authored with colleague Jesse Rogerson, will be published by the MIT Press in October.

Our Celestial Rosetta Stone: Exploring our Family of Planets to Understand Processes Across the Cosmos

In the past 30 years, telescopes in space and on the ground have discovered thousands of extrasolar planets, providing us with a representative sample of the worlds that orbit other stars in our galaxy for the first time. However, our knowledge of these planets is limited to no more than a few datapoints for each one by the vast distances that separates us. Yet, though these places live mainly in our mind’s eye, we can construct remarkably accurate pictures of the processes which dominate their environments. We can do this because of our understanding of planetary processes that we have gained through 62 years of robotic solar system exploration. This hard-won experience, like a celestial Rosetta Stone, allows us to translate our sparse information about the exoplanetary realm into the language of our familiar solar family of planets. However, unlike the famous artifact, we can still write new chapters to the translation. Exoplanets tell us about the full diversity of worlds and their circumstances while robotic space exploration missions consider a single representative world from that set up close. Thus, exoplanetary astronomy and solar system exploration are disciplines in dialogue. By deeply interrogating our nearest neighbors we can expand our understanding of planets everywhere.

Medal talks return to Congress!

More information will be posted once the 2024 medal recipients have been selected.

Plenary Speakers:

(More to come!)

Dr. Ebony McGee | John Hopkins University

Date & Time TBC

Dr. Ebony McGee of Johns Hopkins University is a Professor of Innovation and Inclusion in the STEM Ecosystem in the School of Education and the Department of Mental Health under the School of Public Health. Dr. McGee is an electrical engineer by training and an 11-time NSF investigator awardee. She is the leading expert on race and structural racism in STEM, with all its toxic consequences and the growing resistance to the traditional STEM ecosystem.

Abstract to come

Dr. Natasha Holmes | Cornell University

Date & Time TBC

Natasha G. Holmes is the Ann S. Bowers Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at Cornell University, with the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics. Prof. Holmes received her BSc in physics from the University of Guelph and her MSc and PhD in physics at the University of British Columbia. She then went on to do her postdoctoral work at Stanford University with Prof. Carl Wieman. Her research group studies anything to do with physics laboratory courses, from student learning, attitudes, and skill development to the equity of lab group work to understanding how we measure and assess student outcomes quantitatively.

Putting the Experiment Back in the Lab

What is the purpose of an introductory physics lab? Often instructional labs are structured such that students perform experiments to observe or discover classic physics phenomena. In this talk, I’ll present data that questions this goal and argues for transforming labs to focus instead on the skills and understandings of experimental physics. I’ll provide several examples of experimentation-focused labs and research on their efficacy for students’ skill development.