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Wildwood Middle chosen as host for session led by noted WVU astrophysics professor

By Staff | Mar 11, 2016

Wildwood Middle School (WMS) has been selected by the USA Science & Engineering Festival to host a physics presentation by Dr. Maura McLaughlin, astrophysics professor at West Virginia University. McLaughlin will give her lecture, entitled “Seeing in the Dark: A New Window on the Universe Through Gravitational Waves.”

The direct detection of gravitational waves, predicted by Albert Einstein, made worldwide news in February and will fundamentally expand our understanding of the universe.

All eighth-grade students at WMS, as well as seventh-grade students enrolled in honors science classes at WMS, and JHS physics students will attend.

Following the presentation, a small group of students will get the chance to meet McLaughlin and discuss opportunities for West Virginia students interested in science.

“We’re thrilled that we’ll be hearing Dr. McLaughlin speak,” said Carolyn Thomas, science teacher at Wildwood Middle.

“This is an opportunity for students not only to enrich their minds, but also to learn about career opportunities in the science fields,” Thomas continued.

McLaughlin’s main research interests involve studying neutron stars and their environments through radio, X-ray and gamma-ray observations.

McLaughlin, who is internationally known for her studies joined West Virginia University in 2006. She received her Ph.D in Astronomy and Space Sciences from Cornell University in 2001.

She is now the Eberly Family Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy.

The USA Science & Engineering Festival, chose Wildwood Middle School to host McLaughlin’s presentation as part of the festival’s “Nifty Fifty (times 4)” program.

McLaughlin is one of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C., area during the 2015-2016 school year to speak about their work and careers at select middle and high schools.

For more information about McLaughlin’s presentation, call Thomas at 304-728-4518.

Learn more about the USA Science & Engineering Festival at www.usasciencefestival.org.

Visit boe.jeff.k12.wv.us to learn more about this and other programs that are taking place in Jefferson County Schools.