French to Explore Pluto at Lunch and Learn

Aug. 31, 2015  

Pluto
Images from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) were combined with color data from the probe's Ralph instrument to create this sharper global view of Pluto. Photo credit NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Illinois Wesleyan University Professor of Physics Linda French will present “Exploring Pluto” Sept. 10 at the McLean County Museum of History.  Her presentation will be offered through the “Lunch and Learn Series,” which is offered through a partnership by the McLean County Museum of History, the Collaborative Solutions Institute and Illinois Wesleyan University.

French will discuss the latest discoveries of the NASA flyby of Pluto. New findings have shown that what was once assumed to be a dead planet may actually be far more active than scientists had previously assumed. Along with discussing these findings, French will also explore the implications that this surprising information could have on our understanding of our Solar System and its origins.

A professional astronomer for over 30 years, French earned her bachelor’s degree in astronomy from Indiana University, as well as a master’s and Ph.D. from Cornell University. Along with being a regular observer at observatories in both Arizona and Chile, French has conducted extensive research on 18th-century astronomer John Goodricke, about whom she has written many papers. A recipient of the 2016 Kemp Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, the University’s highest teaching honor, French joined the faculty at Illinois Wesleyan in 2002.

The “Lunch and Learn” session will take place from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. in the Governor Fifer Courtroom. Those attending are encouraged to bring a lunch and join the discussion.

By Emily Phelps ’19