The Big Bang. Supernovae. Gamma-ray bursts.
Asteroid impacts. The Astronomical Society of the
Pacific (ASP) cordially invites the media to learn
about the violent events that shape our universe by
attending the ASP’s 2003 Annual Meeting. This
exciting two-day event will take place in the San
Francisco Bay Area on October 11 and 12.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Cosmic
Explosions,” and includes a full-day series of public
lectures on Sunday, October 12 by renowned
astronomers such as Sandra Faber, Alexei
Filippenko, and Shrinivas Kulkarni. Media
representatives may attend this lecture series free
of charge.

The ASP carefully selected this year’s speaker
lineup to focus on top-notch scientists who also
excel at communicating scientific concepts to the
public. These lectures are specifically geared for
the general public and do not consist of technical
talks that one would hear at a scientific conference.
The lectures will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. in
Wheeler Auditorium on the University of California,
Berkeley campus. Scheduled speakers and topics are:

  • Sandra Faber, University of California, Santa Cruz, “The Big Bang: Truth or Nonsense?”
  • Matthew Malkan, UCLA, “Blasts from the Centers of Galaxies”
  • Alexei Filippenko, University of California, Berkeley, “Supernovae: Catastrophic Stellar Death”
  • Shrinivas Kulkarni, Caltech, “Death Cries Across the Universe: The Brilliant Gamma-Ray Bursts”
  • Sumner Starrfield, Arizona State University, “Nova Explosions: Stars That Go Bump in the Night”
  • Robert Lin, University of California, Berkeley,
  • “Solar Flares: The Most Powerful Explosions in the Solar System”
  • Kevin Zahnle, NASA Ames Research Center,
  • “Cosmic Calamity: Asteroid and Comet Collisions with Earth”

“This is one of the most interesting lineup of
speakers we have had,” says ASP Executive Director
Michael Bennett. “Every speaker is a leading
researcher in topics that touch on cosmic explosions.
Even better, they are all well known for their
ability to communicate complex ideas in terms
everyone can understand.”

The Annual Meeting kicks off on Saturday, October
11, when the ASP will sponsor an afternoon tour of
the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). That
evening, the ASP will host its annual membership
meeting and awards banquet at the Woodfin Suites
Hotel in Emeryville, California.

For more information about the ASP’s Annual
Meeting, including schedules, pricing for the
Saturday events, and speaker abstracts and
biographies, please visit the ASP website at
Accredited media representatives can obtain a free
press registration to the Sunday lecture series by
contacting Mercury Editor Robert Naeye or ASP
marketing director Joycelin Craig.

The non-profit Astronomical Society of the Pacific
was founded in 1889 in San Francisco, and is still
headquartered there today. The ASP has since
grown into an international society. Its membership
is spread over all 50 states and 70 countries and
includes professional and amateur astronomers,
science educators of all levels, and the general
public. The ASP publishes the bimonthly Mercury
magazine for its members. It publishes a technical
journal for professional astronomers, and it
coordinates Project ASTRO, a national astronomy
education program. The Society also operates an on-
line store that offers astronomy-related products
for educators and the public.