Distinguished Speaker Series:
Yan Fernández, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Observatory Director
Department of Physics
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.
Tuscawilla Country Club
1500 Winter Springs Blvd.,
Winter Springs, FL 32708
Abstract: Asteroids have been colliding with Earth for billions of years. Until recently, denizens of Earth had no way to gauge, protect against, and mitigate the risk from this flux of space rocks. This includes the dinosaurs, most of whom were not ready for a particularly important such collision in Earth’s history, 65 million years ago. Modern humans are the first species to actively address the problem, and indeed we have come a long way in understanding just where our risk lies, what that risk is relative to other risks, and what we can do about it.
Dr. Fernández will discuss the latest results from studies of asteroids and their impact probabilities, and he will discuss the role of the Arecibo Observatory — a radio telescope in Puerto Rico that is one of the largest telescopes in the world, and is now managed by UCF — in the protection of Earth.
Biography: Yan Fernández is an associate professor or physics at UCF. He received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Maryland. He spent three years as a scientific researcher and three years as a SIRTF/Spitzer Fellow at the University of Hawaii before joining UCF.
His areas of research include comets and asteroids and the study of their evolution. He is interested in the composition and physical properties of these objects and how they compare to each other and other objects in the solar system. This is not an easy task, but it is critical to make sense of what the solar system is like today.