Dr. Kim Carlson
Associate professor of Biology, 308.865.1554

Astronomer, physicist and author Dr. Phil Plait will present “Bad Astronomy” in a 5:30 p.m. talk Monday, Jan. 31, in the University of Nebraska at Kearney Fine Arts Recital Hall.

In his presentation, which is free and open to the public, Dr. Plait will “demolish a wide array of scientific misconceptions from standing eggs on end, to blowing up asteroids,” and he will illustrate misconceptions that are based on movie and television productions by using video clips taken from “Armageddon,” “Deep Impact,” “Enterprise” and “The Simpsons.”

“Bad Astronomy” is also the title of his first book, published in 2002. Among the chapter titles in his book are: “Yolk’s on You: Egg Balancing and the Equinox,” “The Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie” and “Beam Me Up.”  In addition to his “Bad Astronomy” titled book, he has a website and blog of the same name that he uses to debunk what he describes as “bad science.”

Dr. Plait, who holds a doctorate in astronomy from the University of Virginia, became interested in astronomy at an early age. “When I was maybe four- or five-years-old, my dad brought home a cheapo department store telescope,” Dr. Plait said. “He aimed it at Saturn that night. One look, and that was it. I was hooked.”  As a NASA contractor at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Dr. Plait worked with the Hubble Space Telescope.

In 2008, he published his second book, “Death from the Skies!,” and last September, “Phil Plait’s Bad Universe” premiered on the Discovery Channel. Further, Dr. Plait has given talks at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Dryden Flight Research Center, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, and at numerous other venues.

“The evening presentation is appropriate for most ages,” said Dr. Kim Carlson, UNK associate professor of biology. “However, children under five may not find the presentation interesting.”

His presentation at UNK is sponsored jointly by the student and the professional chapters of Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society.