Longmont Astronomical Society

Monthly Meeting

  • May 19, 2022
  • 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Beau Jo’s Pizza at 2033 Ken Pratt Blvd in Longmont

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and Game-changing Science

Dr. Joe Pesce

In this talk, we will explore one of our flagship observatories, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array.  ALMA is the highest altitude observatory, and the most advanced scientific instrument, on Earth. Observing in a previously under-explored region of the electromagnetic spectrum, ALMA is making stunning astrophysical discoveries, from our Solar System to the most distant regions of the universe. We will discuss radio astronomy, the observatory, and some of these game-changing observations. 


Joe Pesce is an astrophysicist whose primary area of interest is supermassive black holes.  He has held research positions at the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Pennsylvania State University.  He is currently a Program Officer at the US National Science Foundation, responsible for most of the US Government's ground-based radio astronomy facilities (the National Radio Astronomy Observatory - NRAO - including the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA, in Chile), the Very Large Array (VLA, in New Mexico), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA, spread across the US).  In addition to his day job, he is a Part-time Professor at George Mason University (Fairfax, Virginia) and a Visiting Professor at the University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado).  Previously, he founded, and served as CEO, of several firms specializing in high-level science and technology, critical thinking and problem-solving consulting and education.  

An important aspect of Joe’s work involves public outreach, as an ambassador for science in general and astrophysics specifically.  Among other activities, he has made numerous television and podcast appearances, and has served as science advisor to several science fiction series (television and online) and science fiction authors.  

He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Cambridge Philosophical Society; serves on the Board of Directors of The Presidents Leadership Class (University of Colorado, Boulder); is a proud alumnus of Peterhouse; is a member of the American Astronomical Society; the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Sigma Pi Sigma; the American Institute of Physics; and the Cosmos Club (Washington DC).  

Joe received a B.A. degree in physics from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and M.Sc., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in astrophysics from Cambridge University (Peterhouse) and the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy.  

Joe’s other interests include science policy, space, leadership, interspecies communication, non-human intelligence, psychology, science fiction, and all things British.  He conducts art-history research and collects art, antiquarian books, and antique furniture.

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The Longmont Astronomical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O.Box 806, Longmont, CO 80502-0806, USA

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