Hubble Telescope project director Robert Williams's interest in astronomy began at a relatively early age.
"I took a science class in the 1950s in Southern California," Williams said. "Every seventh grade student had to take a science class and that's when I fell in love with astronomy and became fascinated with the telescope. Ever since I was 12 years old, I wanted to be an astronomer."
Williams will be presenting his talk "Hubble Space Telescope: Piecing Together the Workings of the Universe" for the Discover Science Lecture Series at the University of Nevada, Reno Thursday, April 21.
The presentation will include photos and information about the telescope and how it has been a guiding force to our understanding of the evolution of the universe from the most primitive times to the present day.
Williams is senior research astronomer of the Space Telescope Science Institute. He served as director of the Institute from 1993 to 1998. Prior to his work at the Institute, he was director of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile from 1985 to 1993. He has also served as a visiting research associate at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany from 1983 to 1984 and is currently an adjunct professor at the John Hopkins University.
"The years I spent in Chile were magical," Williams said. "I have been with the Space Telescope Science Institute for the past 25 years and it has been absolutely wonderful."
His work at the institute will be the information and material presented at the lecture. He will be discussing how his work on telescopes fits into our understanding of the evolution of the universe. In his lecture, Williams will be using slides to display his knowledge and studies of planets around other stars, black holes, and how galaxies develop, merge and evolve.
Williams says that audience members are more than welcome to bring their children, but the subject matter presented is more directed to be understood by high school through graduate students, and other adults interested in astronomy.
He has explored all aspects of astronomy and his current line of work involves the topic of exploding stars.
"For the past 10 years, I have been interested in exploding stars," Williams said. "I will not be talking about that in the lecture other than how it involves the telescope."
Astronomy has always been Williams's passion and has continued to excite and fascinate him ever since that seventh grade science classroom.
"I love it. Astronomy is fabulous stuff. It is all about our global environment," Williams said. "It is the driving force in my life and now that I am in my mid-70s, there is not a day that goes by that I am not truly passionate about astronomy and the telescopes that show how the universe has truly evolved.
Williams will be presenting his lecture at 7 p.m., April 21 in the Redfield Auditorium in the Davidson Mathematics and Science Center on the University campus. Admission is free, and parking is available in the Brian J. Whalen Parking Complex.