NASA astronaut, solar systems ambassador to speak

| Contact: Jean Hardiman, University Relations Specialist, 304-696-6397

Marshall University will host a NASA astronaut and a NASA solar systems ambassador Nov. 7-8 to speak as part of the 2019 meeting of the Appalachian American Association of Physics Teachers (A-AAPT 2019), which goes on Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 7-9, on the Huntington campus.

Dr. Don Thomas, former NASA astronaut and a veteran of four Space Shuttle missions, will be the public keynote speaker for the conference. Thomas’ talk, "Overcoming Obstacles and Reaching for the Stars," starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in Room 154 of Smith Hall and is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the Birke Art Gallery Atrium, with the Birke Art Gallery in Smith Hall holding special hours of 6 to 9 p.m. for the event.

Bo Lowrey, a NASA solar systems ambassador, will also provide a free talk open to the public as part of the A-AAPT conference. He will speak at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, in Room 154 of Smith Hall.

This year’s meeting will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. The conference is open to students and high school teachers from throughout the region. They’ll be able to participate in workshops presented by area educators, as well as have the opportunity to test out an Apollo space flight simulator and learn about the Pulsar Search Collaboratory, a citizen science project for students age 13 and up.

Thomas’ presentation is supported by education and outreach funds through NSF-EPSCoR RII-Track 1 OIA-1458952 and the state of West Virginia, as well as the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium. The A-AAPT meeting is supported by a Local Section Meeting Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Appalachian Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the Department of Physics in the College of Science.