Broadcast 2771 Dr. Grace Wolf-Chase

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The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Dr. Grace Wolf-Chase; Topics:  Astronomy, the Adler Planetarium, outreach, citizen science, Star Trek & much more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See

We welcomed Dr. Grace Wolf-Chase to the show for the first of I hope many visits to The Space Show.  Dr. Wolf-Chase is an astronomer with the Adler Planetarium at the University of Chicago.  During the first segment of our 86 minute discussion, our guest introduced us to the Adler Planetarium and their many in-house and educational outreach program in astronomy and related fields.  Visit the Adler website,, and follow along as our guests talks about their many programs and projects.  We talked about their telescopes, the Doane Observatory, field trips, lectures, target market for their programming and participants, and more. Our guest pointed us to this site for variety of topics covered on the Adler YouTube channel:

Our guest mentioned the upcoming 50th anniversary of Star Trek as she was inspired as a young girl by Star Trek.  Don't miss her personal story about this and why Star Trek inspired her.  Shortly after the Star Trek discussion, Charlotte asked Grace to explain the differences with astronomy, cosmology, and astrophysics.  Our guest did an excellent job in not just explaining the differences but also how the fields overlap plus the uniqueness of each discipline.  Our guest also got a question about radio astronomy which prompted Grace to talk about seeing light at multiple wave lengths. 

Jerry in Philadelphia, a college student, inquired about professors staying current in the field and some that have tenure becoming very lazy.  Many of you may find this applicable to your college experience so don't miss our short discussion regarding Jerry's comments.

I asked our guest why Antares was her favorite star.  You need to listen to the show to find out the answer.  It is a terrific story.  Hint:  Here is a link to the song she mentioned: or

The subject of extraterrestrial life came up.  This brought up the Kepler Mission, exoplanets, and the creation of life detection instruments.  Before the segment ended, our guest got a question about telescope recommendations.  She suggested using a website, for assistance in making telescope purchasing decisions.

In the second segment, we talked about citizen science using  Grace took us through the basics of the site and the various programs and projects available for citizen science.  She talked about the site and the projects being very user friendly, then mentioned the project Planet Hunters.  She talked about project tutorials and social medial with a Talk program for assistance with the project team leaders.  Grace said there were 46 projects from a variety of disciplines and fields.  She also talked about how some of the citizen scientists actually discovered new things and got their names on the official research papers that were published.  She also said the projects were active, not passive was the case with SETI@home.

Anthony from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles asked our guest about some of the facilities and infrastructure well known to Adler such as the Zeiss planetarium projector.  This provided an opportunity for Grace to mention other pieces of equipment at Adler and what they do for the public.  A few times during the program Grace mentioned and discussed the WOW Factor.  Toward the end of the program, she was asked about lunar telescopes and their advantages over Earth based or space based telescopes.  Don't miss this discussion.  As the program was ending, Kerry wanted to know if there were big astronomy questions to answer with prize money such as there were with math problems like P=NP.  Again, don't miss what she had to say about this. 

Grace provided us with her closing thoughts along with her favorite question to be answered.  Listen in to find out what that question might be.  Finally, post your comments/questions in the comments section of this archived program on TSS website.  You can reach our guest through me or the Adler website.





Astronomy at the Adler Planetarium, Univ of Chicago

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02 Sep 2016 Dr. Grace Wolf-Chase
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

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