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Museum hosts lecture on extreme astronomy

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How do you revolutionize astronomy four centuries after Galileo first turned a telescope to the sky? Neil Cornish, professor of physics at Montana State University and director of the eXtreme Gravity Institute, will offer his answer in the fifth and final presentation of the winter/spring Science Inquiry Lecture Series.

The talk will be presented at the Museum of the Rockies on Tuesday, May 15, at 7 p.m. in the museum’s Hager Auditorium.

The series, sponsored by the Gallatin Valley Friends of the Sciences, explores cutting edge science topics, their latest developments, and their relevance to society through speaker presentations followed by conversations between speaker and audience. The talks are free to the public.

In his presentation, “A Revolution in Astronomy,” Cornish will discuss how gravitational wave observatories are detecting collisions of black holes and neutron stars, and providing new insights into the nature of gravity, the properties of matter at extreme densities, and the origin of many elements in the periodic table.

Cornish holds a doctorate from the University of Toronto and has worked with the late Stephen Hawking and his research group at the University of Cambridge and at Princeton University, where he worked on a NASA mission to create afterglow imaging of the Big Bang.

At MSU, Cornish leads a research group pioneering the new field of gravitational wave astronomy. His research contributed to the first detection of gravitational waves in 2015. He and his group received the 2016 Breakthrough Prize and the 2016 Gruber Cosmology Prize for the discovery. Cornish is a Fellow of the American Physics Society and a NASA science advisor.

“A Revolution in Astronomy” will be followed by an opportunity for audience members to engage in conversation with Cornish in the museum lobby with light refreshments served.

The speaker presentation and audience participation segments together will last approximately an hour.

For more information, contact James Manning at (406) 585-2672 or

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