Scientist presents on the aurora, shares rocket launch footage

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University will host Dr. Andrew B. Christensen in his presentation, “Life’s Journey with the Aurora: Mystery and Science,” to include physics demonstrations and footage from a rocket launch.

The presentation is a feature of the university’s President’s Colleagues meetings and the public is welcome at no charge. It will be delivered at noon Monday in Room 156 of Dixie State’s Russell C. Taylor Health Science Center, 1526 Medical Center Drive.

During his lecture, Christensen will share his personal experiences and research related to the causes of the aurora, a common nighttime optical phenomenon that is visible at mid- to high-latitudes in the northern and southern hemispheres. Christensen will discuss some of the physical principles at work and impart a feeling for the grandeur, beauty and complexity of the aurora.

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Additionally, Dixie State Professor Sam Tobler will help Christensen conduct physics demonstrations and footage from the launch of a Utah State University rocket from Alaska will be shown.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Utah in 1962 and a master’s in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964, Christensen attended the University of Denver, where he graduated with a doctorate in physics in 1969. He then went to work at the University of Texas, Dallas.

Christensen moved to California in 1979 and ultimately served as director of the Space Science and Applications Laboratory at Aerospace Corporation, helping to manage research in support of the Air Force space program. Approximately 80 engineers and scientists representing a broad range of disciplines were involved. Christensen received the distinguished Trustees Award at Aerospace Corporation in 1994 for his contribution to science.

Christensen is currently on staff at Dixie State University; he serves as the principle investigator for the ultraviolet imager on the NASA/TIMED satellite, which has been in orbit since 2001, directs the Department of Defense RAIDS experiment on NASA’s International Space Station, consults for the NASA science program and contributes to various other space science projects.

The President’s Colleagues of Dixie State University, established more than 20 years ago by former Dixie State President Douglas Alder, is a group of retired professors and other professionals who live mostly in the Washington County area. The colleagues will continue to meet from noon to 1 p.m. on the first Monday of each month throughout the academic year to hear presentations from each other and invited guests.

Event details

  • What: President’s Colleagues of DSU meeting, “Life’s Journey with the Aurora: Mystery and Science”
  • When: Monday, Nov. 2, noon
  • Where: Room 156, Dixie State’s Russell C. Taylor Health Science Center, 1526 Medical Center Drive

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