|University Faculty Lecture Series begins with Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Mike Gaffey|
The University Faculty Lecture Series kicks off its 2009-10 season Sept. 10 with “Dinosaurs or Nickel Mines: What are the Risks and Rewards of Near Earth Asteroids?” by Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Mike Gaffey. The event starts with a reception at 4 p.m. and presentation at 4:30 p.m. in the North Dakota Museum of Art on campus.
Mike Gaffey, a professor in the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences Department of Space Studies, is an internationally respected researcher in the fields of planetary sciences, asteroids and near-Earth objects. Gaffey is regularly consulted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in his areas of expertise and is an advisor to NASA’s DAWN mission to two large asteroids.
Gaffey’s numerous accomplishments in the field of planetary sciences are widely recognized at the highest national levels. In 2006, he was presented both the Leonard Medal from the Meteoritic Society and the Gilbert Award from the Geological Society of America. At the 2007 UND Founders Day banquet, he was presented the UND Foundation/Thomas J. Clifford Faculty Achievement award for Excellence in Research.
“Professor Gaffey’s enthusiasm for discovering new knowledge in very evident in his instructional activities,” wrote one nominator for his Chester Fritz Distinguished Professorship. “Many students are enamored by his vast expertise in the planetary sciences field, and easily sense his genuine interest in disseminating new knowledge.” Another nominator observed, “Dr. Gaffey contributes much of his success to his students, providing an enormously stimulating learning environment for each of them.”
Gaffey earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology at the University of Iowa and his Ph.D. in earth and planetary sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been a faculty member in UND’s Department of Space Studies since 2001. He previously taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and worked as a scientist and team member with numerous endeavors, including NASA’s Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft mission, the New York Center for Studies of the Origin of Life, and the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics at the University of Hawaii.
Gaffey has more than 95 publications in prestigious peer-reviewed journals, as well as nearly 250 abstracts. He has received more than $8 million in external support for his projects.
Gaffey’s Web site: http://www.space.edu/gaffey.asp
The University Faculty Lecture Series has been held regularly on campus since 1997, when a group comprising senior faculty members and Chester Fritz Distinguished Professors Richard Beringer, Elizabeth Hampsten, Bill Sheridan, and Sharon Wilsnack along with Peter Johnson, proposed a renewal of this forum to celebrate the diversity and excellence of scholarship at UND. Then-president Kendall Baker provided encouragement and financial support, and the series was re-launched. President Kelley is continuing that tradition of encouragement and support for the series.
A key goal of the University Faculty Lecture Series is to bring together the campus community and the community at large to “recognize the university as a unique institution in society, an academic community with scholarly roles and contributions that go beyond, but at the same time enrich, its own educational programs.”
The University Faculty Lecture Series cultivates a stronger academic atmosphere by offering a forum for distinguished faculty members selected across the disciplines to talk about their scholarly lives and what drives their research. According to the guidelines of the organizers, each lecture presents, “with some depth and rigor, the scholarly questions and goals of the individual faculty. In presenting the products of their scholarship, the Lecturers will share the enthusiasm and dedication that sustains their creative efforts.”
All of the lectures are free and open to the public.
-- Juan Pedraza, Writer/Editor, University Relations, email@example.com, 777-6571