Physicist Mark Vagins Describes the Mysterious Supernova Sept. 3 - Southern Maryland Headline News

Physicist Mark Vagins Describes the Mysterious Supernova Sept. 3

“Supernovae: Can’t live with ’em, Can’t live without ’em”

ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. (Sept. 1, 2009) — Supernovas, or new stars, have been viewed with an uneasy mix of wonder and abject fear throughout human history. They produce many elements necessary for life, but everything within 100 light years of a supernova is destroyed when it explodes. U.S. scientist Mark Vagins will describe the phenomena and what the future holds at a lecture at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) at 4:40 p.m. Thursday, September 3, in Schaefer Hall, room 106. The talk is part of the Natural Science & Math Colloquium series.

In his talk, called “Supernovae: Can’t live with ’em, Can’t live without ’em,” Dr. Vagins also will give historical examples and consider new explosions and new discoveries. “It turns out that the ancients had it right,” he says. “Supernovas are indeed forces of both destruction and creation.”

Dr. Vagins is a professor at the University of Tokyo's Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe with a joint appointment at the University of California, Irvine. He also is a central participant in the Super-Kamiokande experiment in Japan, where he studies supernova neutrino particles in an observatory 3,300 feet underground. He enjoys living on the edge: When not hunting supernova neutrinos, he enjoys scuba diving, flying ultra-light aircraft, zip-lining through jungles, eating raw puffer fish, and other life-threatening activities.

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