Astronomer discusses research with club

Hannah Cho

UCLA research astronomer Michael Rich (Jonathan ’16) spoke to students Feb. 22 about his recent projects, including the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), an orbiting ultraviolet space telescope used to measure the history of star formation in the universe.

The Astronomy Club, with help of Upper School science teacher Antonio Nassar and Jonathan Rich, the club’s co-president, organized the event.

“I set it up with Dr. Nassar through the studies in scientific research [class],” Rich said. “We invited the astronomy club and made the lecture available to the entire school.”

Michael Rich earned his Ph.D. in astronomy at the California Institute of Technology in 1986. He now leads a team that is working to map galactic bulges using the Dark Energy Camera, the world’s most powerful digital camera, which has the ability to looks deeply into the universe.

“The speech had a lot of information, but I didn’t have enough knowledge to fully understand what he was saying. However, on some level, it was interesting,” Chris Lee ‘16 said. “He spoke about research and his telescopes that he used to either discover black holes or other interesting phenomena in the universe.”

Rich also spoke about recent astronomical discoveries, including gravitational waves.

“Everyone’s probably heard about gravitational waves but not really understood the significance of this new discovery. I think we were extremely lucky to have Dr. Rich, who had worked with some of the leading researchers on this project to come and speak to us,” co-president of astronomy club Sean Jung ’16 said.

The event concluded with a question and answer session, and some students stayed after to speak with Rich.