Astronomer Shane Larson Spoke to the Club
President Ann McCuistion opened the meeting and introduced Brad Sheppard to provide some inspirational words, the Pledge of Allegiance, and Four-Way Test.
Jim Rieckhoff introduced today’s guests, including visiting Rotarian Rebecca Power from the Elkhart Morning Club. Guests of Rotarians included: Debby Burton and Barry Power (Bill Burton), Emily Hausbach and Ally Lankford from Elkhart Central High School, Gretchen Koerting (Dick Koerting), and Ashley Bowen (Bill Rieth).
Scott Puckett, chair of the Donations Committee, announced that our club will sponsor Church Community Services’ bid for a Rotary District Grant.
Sergeant Doug Thorne did his duty to extract fines from unsuspecting Rotarians (except those who already knew they were guilty!). Fines came in many forms - - sports fans, quiz questions, and general randomness - - all for a good cause, supporting other local not for profits in advancement of their missions. So pay up!!
Bill Burton introduced today’s speaker - - the anticipated return of Shane Larson - - astronomer from the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) at Northwestern University ( Shane’s unfettered enthusiasm, experience, and knowledge on the subject was evident as he presented “WHISPERS FROM THE COSMOS: THE DAWN OF GRAVITATIONAL WAVE ASTRONOMY”.
As many were preparing to watch the total eclipse of the sun last summer, an AMAZING thing happened! For the first time, scientists directly detected gravitational waves — ripples in space-time — in addition to light from the spectacular collision of two neutron stars. This marks the first time that a cosmic event has been viewed in both gravitational waves and light. The discovery was made using the U.S.-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO); the Europe-based Virgo detector; and some 70 ground- and space-based observatories.
Shane provided many mind-melting moments in his presentation, including a hands-on show and tell object: a 2-kilogram Tungsten cube, the exact replica of a gold-platinum cube intended for space, ready to detect slight changes in laser beam caused by those gravitational waves.
To contact Shane directly for questions: or follow him on Twitter @sciencejedi, or for videos intended for the layperson visit:
For more information about this gravitational wave detection event visit: