Monday, April 12, 2010

James Webb Space Telescope Partners Sponsor Presentation by Nobel Laureate at Da Vinci Charter School

James Webb Space Telescope Partners Sponsor Presentation by Nobel Laureate at Da Vinci Charter School
April 12, 2010

Community Invited to Attend Astronomy Event and Night Sky Viewing

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – NASA and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) are co-sponsoring a community event that will feature Nobel Prize-winning physicist Dr. John Mather, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Senior Project Scientist. Dr. Mather will speak at Da Vinci Schools in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, April 15 at 6:45 p.m.

The event will also offer three science stations featuring an "Ask the Scientist Q&A" with a panel of Webb telescope scientists, a workshop on how a telescope works and a night sky viewing presented by the South Bay Astronomical Society. The three stations will run concurrently from 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The community is invited to attend Dr. Mather's presentation as well as the rest of the evening's events. The school is located at 13500 Aviation Boulevard, Hawthorne, Calif. For more information, visit

Before the event, the Webb scientists and engineers will privately review student-presented projects on how telescopes have impacted space exploration. The 9th and 10th grade presenters will receive feedback and guidance from the panel. The student presentations are not open to the public.

"Exposing these students to scientists designing the world's largest space telescope is critical to giving them a real-world view of a career in math and science," said David DiCarlo, vice president and general manager of Space Systems for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector. "This is a way to bring world-leading science to the entire community and is an important aspect of our partnership with Da Vinci. We'll also continue to offer Northrop Grumman engineers and scientists to serve as ongoing mentors and subject matter experts for students."

Dr. Matthew Wunder, Da Vinci Schools executive director, noted that for students to interact with world-leading scientists is an opportunity for inspiration as well as learning. "Students can get an up close look at what's possible from space science pioneers," he said. "Opportunities like these help teachers nurture the best and brightest minds for the challenges of the 21st century workforce and beyond."

A model of the Webb telescope will be in the Northrop Grumman Innovation Lab, a state-of the-art media center where students have access to the latest technology to research, design and bring their projects to life in a creative, audio-visual environment. Northrop Grumman employees, working with an elite group of supplier companies that also donated their products and services, designed and built the Innovation Lab in less than five months with more than 1,000 hours of volunteer labor.

The Da Vinci Schools, located in the Wiseburn School District, are public, tuition-free schools that began operation in 2009. The schools draw enrollment primarily from the Wiseburn district (which serves portions of El Segundo and Hawthorne), and throughout Southern California. Both schools, Da Vinci Science and Da Vinci Design, offer a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum based on "project based learning." This dynamic approach allows students to relate classroom projects to real-world problems.

The Da Vinci astronomy event will take place the week of the James Webb Space Telescope mission design review at Northrop Grumman's Redondo Beach campus. The company is leading the Webb design and development effort for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the next-generation premier space observatory and will peer back in time when new stars and galaxies first began to illuminate the universe. The Webb Telescope will give scientists clues about the formation of the universe and the evolution of our own solar system, from the first light after the Big Bang to the formation of star systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth. Expected to launch in 2014, the telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

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