RED Series

RED Series

Provost and Chief Academic Officer David Fite, Kennedy, and Professor Tyler Nordgren.

The RED Series at the Hollywood Tower ended on a high note Aug. 19, when Physics Professor Tyler Nordgren and emcee Kennedy discussed space, time travel, and other things that are out of this world.

“Your work is extraordinary,” Kennedy told Nordgren. “What is in your brain is so impressive, and empowers people without an astronomy background to really look into it.”

The “D for Discovery” program was the third and final RED Series event. The series was a partnership between the University of Redlands and 98.7 FM, with the school providing faculty experts to speak on specific topics with Kennedy. Nordgren, an associate professor of physics, discussed everything from the Curiosity rover to whether there is life somewhere else in space.

“There are 100 billion stars in our galaxy and 100 billion other galaxies,” he said. “Mathematically, there has to be someone else out there.”

As a child, Nordgren decided he wanted to be an astronomer, and dreamed of going to Mars.

“Everyone today has an ancestor that at some point decided to set out for a new place and not come back,” he said. “It is in our DNA to explore, and Mars is the next logical step in that.”

Through the Curiosity and the images it sends back to Earth, every day people are able to feel like they are actually on the Red Planet.

“It’s like you are standing there on a vista, and you can feel the crunch underneath your boots,” Nordgren said. “That’s what we are seeing here.”

Mars, which once had rivers but is now cold and dry, can also give us an opportunity to better understand climate change.

“Climates are not set in stone,” Nordgren said. “You can pump a lot into the atmosphere and make it worse or make it better.”

One of the questions Nordgren was asked had to do with space travel, and how it is expanding.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time to boldly go where no one has gone before,” he said. “Let private companies deal with the lower orbit, and let NASA and scientists do what they do best, exploring the universe. Go to the moon, go to Mars, go to Saturn.”

At the very least, you can go into space by just looking up at the stars.

“You don’t need a telescope,” he said. “Go to Anza Borrego or Joshua Tree, sit down on the ground, and look up. Don’t let the stars make you feel small–they’re not self-aware, but we are.”

Posted: August 21, 2013
Written by: Catherine Garcia

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