Venue Six10 610 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605
610 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605
The James Webb Space Telescope is many things at once: a transformative scientific instrument, a demanding feat of engineering, an international collaboration, and a hopeful symbol of what humanity can accomplish. In her talk, Dr. Jane Rigby, NASA Astrophysicist and Operations Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, will tell the story of how 20,000 of the world's best engineers designed and built this audacious deployable telescope, then tested it on the ground to be sure it would unfurl correctly a million miles out in space. She will describe the grueling six-month commissioning period, when a team of 600 scientists deployed the sunshield and telescope, focused the mirrors, brought the science instruments online, and came to realize that not only does JWST work, it overperforms across the board. She will discuss discoveries from Webb that help us understand our place in the Universe -- how the first galaxies formed after the Big Bang, matured over cosmic time, and formed stars like our sun and planets like our Earth -- and celebrate the people who collectively created this revolutionary observatory, now in its first of many years of scientific discovery. This annual public science lecture is organized by the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago and sponsored by the The Brinson Foundation.