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Astrophysics presentation: ‘Old Moon, New Moon’

Dr. Maria Zuber, E.O. Griswold Professor of Geophysics and Vice President for Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be the featured speaker for the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics's fifth annual Public Lecture, Thursday, April 5, at Ryan Family Auditorium, Northwestern University in Evanston.

Since before the emergence of the first single-celled organisms in primordial seas, the Moon has illuminated the night sky. The Moon holds a strong cultural connection to all of us, at once our nearest neighbor and far enough away so that landing on its surface represented the pinnacle of human technical achievement. Study of the Moon informs our understanding of how the rocky planets, including Earth, formed and developed. This presentation will discuss our evolving understanding of the Moon from the earliest observations through GRAIL, a dual-spacecraft mission that mapped the lunar interior from crust to core.

BIOGRAPHY: Dr. Maria Zuber is the E.A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics (in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences) and Vice President of Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Zuber has led the development of a wide range of instruments that have ventured to Mars, Mercury, and the Moon on a variety of NASA missions. Her interests lie in understanding the structure and tectonics of solid planets in our inner solar system through the use of laser and radio tracking experiments on spacecraft. In addition, her group is currently developing an instrument to search for DNA and RNA on the surface of Mars.

Among her many honors, she was appointed by President Obama to the National Science Board, was Chair of the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences from 2003 to 2011 (and was the first woman to lead a science department at MIT), was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News and World Report in 2012, was listed as one of the 50 Most Important Women in Science by Discover Magazine in 2002, and has won numerous awards including: the Harry H. Hess Medal of the American Geophysical Union, MIT's James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Award, a NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and many NASA Achievement awards for her work on nine different NASA missions. She has held distinguished lectureships at the Niels Bohr Institute, Harvard University, Cornell University, Stanford University, and at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, among many others.

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