Delmarva Today: Writer's Edition #65

Dec 28, 2018

Where do we come from? What are we made of? These are probably two of the oldest questions asked by human beings when they first gazed up at the heavens.

“The nitrogen in our DNA,” Carl Sagan says, “the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff….If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

Carl Sagan says we’re made of starstuff.  It sounds rather poetic. Are we really made from stuff from collapsing stars?  And what is starstuff anyway? Can we be more precise than “stuff?” To help answer these questions, Harold Wilson’s guest today is Dr. Grant Wilson an astrophysicist from the Astronomy Department at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass.  Dr. Wilson is leading a team of astronomers in building the next-generation, millimeter-wavelength polarimetric camera for studying the heavens. The camera will be part of the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT)  built on the summit of Serra Negra, an extinct volcano in  Mexico and will be used to conduct surveys in star formation and galaxy evolution.

What will this camera be looking for, why is it important to study galaxy formations, and how far back in time will it take us, are some of the questions that will be  discussed.