Mailed 7/25/96


Upton, NY -- Dr. H. John Wood, the lead optical engineer and science outreach manager on the Hubble Space Telescope Project at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will give a lecture on "The Hubble Space Telescope: Optics and New Science," at Brookhaven National Laboratory's Berkner Hall on Wednesday, August 21, at 4:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Launched into earth orbit by a space shuttle in 1990, the Hubble has since obtained better images of the universe than any previous telescope. But soon after its launching, scientists discovered that an incorrectly shaped mirror caused the telescope to produce blurred images. Dr. Wood will discuss that flaw in optics, as well as explain how the telescope works, how it was built, and how it was repaired.

The new capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope will be illustrated by examples of objects studied in the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, along with its satellites and neighbors, and the most distant and youngest galaxies ever seen. Because of new observations by Hubble scientists, the most fundamental concepts in cosmology, such as the age of the universe and the evolution of galaxies, are being called into question. Astronomers are reexamining the validity of the basic laws of physics over long time scales and large distances.

A graduate of Swarthmore College, Dr. Wood earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in astronomy from Indiana University. His career began with six years on the astronomy faculty at the University of Virginia. He then served five years as a staff astronomer at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, before becoming assistant to the director at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, a position he held for two years. He had joined NASA's Space Flight Center in 1985, and he is winner of the 1992 NASA exceptional service medal and the 1994 NASA exceptional achievement medal. He is the author of 50 research papers in astronomy and space optics.

For more information about the lecture, call Brookhaven's Public Affairs Office at (516)344-2345. The Laboratory is located on William Floyd Parkway (County Road 46), one-and-a-half miles north of Exit 68 on the Long Island Expressway.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is operated by Associated Universities, Inc., under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.