Episode 11: The James Webb Space Telescope: Building the Successor to Hubble, with Neil Rowlands

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Feature Guest: Neil Rowlands

Our guest today is Neil Rowlands who joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to discuss the engineering and science of the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2018. The two cover the exciting objects and phenomena JWST will study, explore why the JWST is a vast improvement over Hubble, and discuss how a project of this magnitude is organized and managed. Dr. Rowlands also shares insights from working in the private sector while under contract to a government agency, before concluding with the current status and upcoming milestones for this exciting project.

In Current in Space we ask whether space and time might not be fundamental after all but rather emerged at the Big Bang. We then detail some of the astronauts who have moved into the political world including first Canadian in space Marc Garneau, now likely to run for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. Finally, we give tribute to a little world recently demoted to dwarf planet status.

About Neil Rowlands

Neil Rowlands Neil obtained his B.Sc (Engineering Physics) from the University of Alberta and his Ph.D. (Astronomy) from Cornell University. At Cornell, he participated in the construction and use of infrared instrumentation for the Kuiper Airborne Observatory and the 5m Hale telescope at Mt. Palomar.

He held NSERC post-doctoral fellowships at the Canada Centre for remote sensing and another  at the Université de Montréal working with an infrared camera for the Canada France Hawaii Telescope.

In 1995 he joined CAL Corporation now called COM DEV, as an electro-optical engineer, developing space-borne scientific instrumentation for the space physics, atmospheric sciences and astronomy communities.  He is currently a Staff Scientist at COM DEV.  He has been working on the Canadian contribution to the James webb space telescope or JWST since 1997 on an instrument on the Fine Guidance Sensor/and near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph or NIRISS  system

Links

COM DEV – James Webb Space Telescope
COM DEV International Ltd. | COM DEV completes instrument destined for James Webb Space Telescope
NASA – James Webb Space Telescope
Space Telescope Science Institute – JWEB
Canadian Space Agency

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