400 Years of Telescope Technology

The intriguing past and out-of-this-world future of the telescope will be explored in a pair of free lectures sponsored by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. The first lecture will also be broadcast over the Internet.

Both lectures are open to the public and will start at 7 p.m. The first will be held at JPL on Thursday, June 21, and the other at Pasadena City College on Friday, June 22.

"From Galileo to Gossamer: 400 Years of Telescope Technology," will examine the trials, tribulations and successes of telescope builders who worked on improving the brilliant idea of a Dutch spectacle-maker, Hans Lippershey, credited as the first to separate two lenses in a tube. News of the invention rocked the scientific minds of the time, including that of Galileo Galilei, who effectively studied how to improve the device. More importantly, he was the first to point the new invention toward the sky, something humans have been doing ever since.

The speakers are Artur B. Chmielewski, manager of the Large Telescope Concept Office, and Mark Dragovan, a JPL senior scientist and inventor of many novel telescope designs. They will explain how scientists are working to improve the 400-year old technology by avoiding the mistakes of the past and by exploiting new ideas that promise fast improvements. Using inflatable material and thin, film-like lenses, so- called gossamer technology, they are working on concepts for space-based construction and launching of telescopes as big as a tennis court.

Lecture seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The lecture at JPL will be held in the von Karman Auditorium, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., in Pasadena, off the Oak Grove Drive exit of the 210 (Foothill) Freeway. For directions to JPL, see http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/about_JPL/maps.php.

Information on the webcast is at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/events/lectures/jun01.html.

On Friday, the lecture will be held in Pasadena City College's Forum at 1570 E. Colorado Blvd. For more information, call (818) 354-0112.

Find information on the von Karman lecture series at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/events/lectures.html or call JPL's Public Services Office at (818) 354-0112.

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

News Media Contact

Enrico Piazza (818) 354-0474
JPL Media Relations Office