Stibbs Lecture - The Last Stargazers: True Stories and Adventures of Astronomy

The 2023 Stibbs Lecture presented by Professor Emily Levesque, University of Washington.

Have you ever gazed at the night sky and pondered its mysteries? Have you wondered if the universe has an end, what's inside a black hole, or if aliens are peering back at us from a nearby planet?

Would you brave blizzards, gunfire, earthquakes, and explosions to find out?

Astronomers adventure across the world's highest mountains and to the literal ends of the Earth in the hopes of answering some of humanity's oldest questions: "Who are we?" "Where did we come from?" "Are we alone?".

Along the way, they grapple with everything from erupting volcanoes to marauding squirrels, facing a rapidly-changing night sky and a technological renaissance that's changing the very nature of how we study the stars.

From a breathtaking flight through the Antarctic stratosphere to tall tales of wild bears loose in the observatory, this evening of storytelling and science will take you on a sweeping behind-the-scenes tour of today's most exciting astronomical discoveries. As well as introducing you to the people who make them, and the evolving world of professional stargazing.

Professor Emily Levesque

Professor Emily Levesque

About the speaker

Professor Emily Levesque, Department of Astronomy, University of Washington

Emily Levesque is an astronomy professor at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on how the most massive stars in the universe evolve and die and how technology is changing the stories we tell about science and the cosmos. She is currently a 2022-2023 Fulbright U.S. Scholar and a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow.

Levesque was awarded the American Astronomical Society's 2014 Annie Jump Cannon Award, the 2020 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize for outstanding achievement in astronomical research, and the 2023 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award. She is also a 2015 Scialog Fellow, a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Physics, a 2018 Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow, a 2019 Cottrell Scholar, and a recipient of the Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage from Trinity University’s Philosophical Society. Her critically-acclaimed popular science book, The Last Stargazers, shares the tales of life as a professional scientist and explores the crucial role of human curiosity in a rapidly-changing field.

She received her PhD in astronomy from the University of Hawaii and her bachelors degree in physics from MIT.

About the Stibbs Lecture

The Professor Walter Stibbs Lectureship commemorates the achievements of Professor Stibbs through an annual lecture by a distinguished astronomer of international standing.