Famous Astronomer Visits Martz Observatory

Sharing a lighter moment about deep space observing, Gary Nelson (L), President of the Martz Astronomical Observatory, chats with Astronomer and Jamestown native, Dr. James LoPresto.

Dr. James LoPresto, a long time friend of the Martz Astronomical Observatory in Frewsburg, New York, lectures with a twinkle in his eye to match the star he studies the most and a sense of humor to delight anybody who thinks a famous scientist must be stuffy and dry. Dr LoPresto was Thursday night’s guest lecturer speaking to a full house in the Martz Observatory Lecture Hall on September 27.

Always passionate about astronomy, Dr. LoPresto explained that in the early days of his career he discovered that he really didn’t like to stay up all night. “That’s bad news for an astronomer,” he admitted with a broad smile. “So I decided to study all the stars that are up during the day—and there’s only one of those, of course: The Sun.” Dr LoPresto has also received research and telescope-building grants from NASA and has served on the National Science Foundation.

An expert in his field of Solar Activity, LoPresto has published 45 articles in various scientific journals and magazines and authored a book: SPACETIME: Fabric of the Universe, which he used in his 32 year career as Astronomy Professor, teaching the course “Relativity, Black Holes and Cosmology” at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Most of his research has taken place at the National Solar Observatory using the largest solar telescope in the world at the nearly mile-and-a -half high Kitt Peak National Observatory on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation near Tucson, Arizona.

Dr. Lopresto spoke about the newly discovered, so-called “God Particle,” the Higgs Boson, and described how the smallest things in the universe, the array of sub atomic particles, can explain the biggest and mightiest objects in the universe, our Sun in particular, other stars, super-novas, galaxies and the structure and origin of the cosmos itself. A lively and engaging Q&A session followed the talk, spiced with good humor, great science and even some insider, personal chat about some of the other great scientists of the 20th Century Dr. LoPresto has known.

The Marshall Martz Memorial Astronomical Observatory invites students, back yard astronomers and deep space enthusiasts to join this active and growing association and to meet and work with scientists like Dr. Lopresto and others, enjoy public viewing nights and observing with the observatory’s research class, 24” telescope. For membership and calendar information, click on http://www.martzobservatory.org.

Walt Pickut
Board of Directors, MMMAA

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.