President’s Colleagues to host presentation on dark space

By Jyl Hall

In the next installment of the President’s Colleagues of Dixie State University meeting series, former astronomy professor and planetarium lecturer Ron Smith will guide attendees through the unseen world of dark matter and dark energy.

Smith will present “Dark Matter and Dark Energy” at noon on April 2 in Lecture Hall 156 of Dixie State’s Russell C. Taylor Health Science Center, located on the Dixie Regional Medical Center campus at 1526 East Medical Center Drive. The meeting is free and open to the public.

In his President’s Colleagues presentation, Smith will provide an outline of the role dark space plays in astronomy. A century ago, astronomers thought only a vast expanse of empty space existed beyond the Milky Way. However, in 1923 Edwin Hubble discovered a vast collection of stars, leading to the realization that the Milky Way is just one of billions of galaxies. Now, astronomers are confident that roughly 96 percent of all the matter and energy in the universe is dark, meaning it cannot be directly observed.

While earning his master’s degree in astronomy from the University of Southern California, Smith worked part-time as a planetarium lecturer at the Griffith Observatory. He went on to teach astronomy and give planetarium shows at Santa Ana College, Santa Monica College, Santa Rosa Junior College and Cerro Coso College throughout his career. For the past nine years, he has been enjoying the retired life in St. George, where he continues his passion for presenting diverse science topics.

The President’s Colleagues meeting series will conclude for the 2017-18 academic year with a presentation from Dixie State President Richard B. Williams. He will provide an overview of the university’s recent accomplishments at noon on May 7 in the Taylor Health Science Center.

The President’s Colleagues of DSU, established more than 20 years ago by former DSU President Douglas Alder, is a group of retired professors and other professionals who live mostly in the Washington County area. Alder, who also started DSU’s Honors Program, organized the group as a way to increase academic activities on campus.