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Appalachian State’s Morgan Lecture Series to Welcome Famed Astronomer, Dr. Michael Brown


On March 23, from 6:45 pm to 8 pm, the annual Morgan Lecture Series will host Dr. Michael Brown, a solar-system astronomer, and professor of Planetary Astronomy at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) this spring. Dr. Brown will present a public lecture in the Blue Ridge Ballroom of the Plemmons Student Union. This event is sponsored by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and the College of Arts and Sciences. Members of the community, as well as campus, are welcome to this out-of-this-world, free event.  

Dr. Brown specializes in the discovery and study of bodies at the edge of the solar system. He is the author of, “How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming,” which chronicles his discovery of Eris, the most massive object found in the solar system in 150 years, and the object which led to the debate and eventual demotion of Pluto from a real planet to a dwarf planet. He is also deeply involved in the search for Planet 9, a hypothetical giant planet orbiting the far reaches of our solar system.

As one of the forerunners in his field, Dr. Brown has changed the way that we look at our known universe, and being a featured speaker at The Morgan Lecture Series is just one honor on a long list of accolades. Feature articles about Dr. Brown and his work have appeared in numerous publications including the New Yorker, the New York Times, and Discover. In 2006, he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

At Caltech, he teaches undergraduate and graduate students in classes ranging from introductory geology to the formation and evolution of the solar system. He was especially pleased to be awarded the Richard P. Feynman Award for Outstanding Teaching at Caltech, where he has taught since 1996. Dr. Brown received his AB from Princeton in 1987 and his MA and Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley in 1990 and 1994, respectively. He has won many awards and honors for his scholarship and was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences in 2014.

The Morgan Lecture Series in the Sciences was created by an endowment from the G. William Morgan Family. The series brought representatives from each of the four science departments together, among whom the lecture rotates (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, and Geology). The repertoire of speakers hosted at this annual event has included Nobel laureates such as Roald Hoffmann (Chemistry), Stephen Chu (Physics), Fraser Stoddart (Chemistry) and Mario Capecchi (Physiology).
Dr. Brown will also give a technical seminar in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, as well as meet with students during his visit on Thursday, March 23, 2017.  To learn more about Dr. Brown’s research and publications, visit his website.  For more information on events, visit the College of Arts and Sciences.