University of Rochester

EVENT: Hubble Images of Star Births and Deaths Presented to Public

May 24, 2000

Spectacular images from the Hubble Space Telescope illustrating the lives of stars, from stellar nurseries to supernovae, will be presented by astronomer Adam Frank at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center Monday, June 5. Frank's talk, held in conjunction with the American Astronomical Society's annual summer meeting, is free and open to the public.

Frank's presentation will include stunning images of a universe that had barely been glimpsed before the Hubble was sent aloft 10 years ago. As part of his presentation, The Birth and Death of Stars: Nature's Narrative and Modern Mythology, the University of Rochester astronomer will discuss how in just a few centuries we have teased out the secrets of their multi-billion-year life span, and how our views of our own humanity affect our interpretation of what we've learned.

"As fact-oriented as science seems to be, human nature still plays a role in it," says Frank. "We love to tell stories, and science is just another story with a certain, strict method. Stars are a perfect example. When we talk about them, we talk about their births, their lives, and their deaths. It's a way we understand the world."

Though the majority of Frank's talk will focus on the science of stellar lives and how we have been able to learn what we have, his talk promises to look at how we relate to what we learn. Drawing from topics as diverse as philosophy and mythology, Frank will explore how and why people seek to explain the universe's behavior and why certain themes inevitably repeat themselves.

Frank says, "My favorite poet, Muriel Rukeyser, said something I always try to remember, 'The world is made of stories, not atoms.' "

Frank's talk will begin at 8 p.m. Monday, June 5, in the Lilac Ballroom at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.