NASA scientist to discuss the women who made space discoveries on Sept. 26

Michelle Thaller, a well-known astrophysicist and science communicator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, will speak at UWM on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture in the Natural Sciences for the UWM College of Letters & Science.

Her lecture, “Vast Spaces, Unimaginable Monsters, Hidden Women,” reveals how discoveries made by largely overlooked women led to our current understanding of dead stars, dark matter and the end of everything. The free event begins at 5 p.m. in the Wisconsin Room of the Student Union.

Michelle Thaller

Thaller’s passion for making science interesting, inspiring and accessible to the public has made the Waukesha native a frequent guest on news programs, the Science Channel, the History Channel, podcasts and TED talks.

After graduating from Waukesha South High School, she attended Harvard University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in astrophysics in 1992. She completed her PhD at Georgia State University in 1998.

Thaller is the co-author of “111 Places in Space You Must Not Miss” and, earlier in her career, was a science columnist at the Christian Science Monitor.

Introducing Thaller is Milwaukee native and current UWM doctoral student Darien Dixon. Dixon graduated from Riverside High School, earned his bachelor’s degree at UWM in geosciences, and then worked with Malin Space Science Systems, a NASA contractor, where his projects included the Perseverance Mars rover and the Curiosity Mars rover. He returned to UWM in fall 2022 to begin work on his PhD in geosciences.

Thaller’s lecture is appropriate for families, including children age 10 and up.

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