Keynote Speakers will be announced below.
Stay tuned for updates!

Elisabeth Villanueva

Affiliation: GHOU, Chile.

Talk: Astronomy Learning Community: Fostering Research in High School Students
Time: August 23, 02:15 UTC

Abstract: This talk introduces an innovative initiative, the GWAM Astronomy Learning Community, which brings together teachers and students from different schools across Chile. The primary goal of this community is to promote astronomy learning through the methodology of modeling, using photometry programs for the analysis of astronomical images.The program takes place on a weekly basis, providing participants with the opportunity to explore and understand key concepts in astronomy. Students are introduced to modeling as a fundamental tool for scientific research, enabling them to acquire practical skills to conduct their own astronomical investigations in the future.The learning community facilitates the exchange of knowledge and experiences among participants, encouraging collaboration and teamwork. Students not only acquire theoretical knowledge but also develop research skills, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking.Preliminary results from the implementation of this program demonstrate increased interest and engagement among students in the study of astronomy. Additionally, an enhancement in their understanding of scientific concepts and their ability to apply them to real problem-solving is observed.GWAM aims to train high school students to independently conduct astronomical research. This innovative approach seeks to strengthen scientific education in Chile and promote the development of future researchers in the field of astronomy.

Bio: Elizabeth Villanueva Vásquez is a Physics and Mathematics teacher, holding a master’s degree in Didactics of Experimental Sciences with a specialization in Physics. Since 2010, she has been actively engaged in the Galileo Teachers Training Program initiated by Global Hands-On Universe. Her involvement led her to become an instructor in the program in 2014. She has effectively shared her expertise with more than 100 educators, focusing on the utilization of the SalsaJ program for the analysis of astronomical images.
In 2019, she took a significant stride by developing educational content for the instructional kit “An Eclipse in Your Hands” produced in collaboration with and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Presently, she holds the role of coordinator for the online learning community known as Gee-Whiz Astronomy Modeling. This dynamic platform equips secondary school students with the skills and knowledge to engage in astronomical research, working in tandem with educators and advising astronomers. This initiative garners support from GHOU and the remote observatory Las Cumbres, amplifying its reach and impact.

Luiz Vitor de Souza Filho

Affiliation: Instituto de Física de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo

Talk: The Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory
Time: August 23, 16:00 UTC

Abstract: The Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory is the next generation ground-based telescope array to study very-high-energy electromagnetic radiation from the Universe. In this talk, I will present the most important aspects of the very wide science case of CTA and I’ll review fundamentals of the imaging Cherenkov approach, comparing it to other techniques. The prospects for the possible discoveries will be presented, with focus on the legacy surveys and on the fundamental astrophysics and physics to be targeted by the Observatory. Our view of the very-high-energy sky is about to change dramatically, CTA will open a new era in our understanding of the highest energetic phenomena in the Universe and in this talk I will discuss some of the expected scientific output.

Bio: Bachelor in Physics in 1997, Master’s in 2000 and PhD at 2004 at the University of Campinas, Brazil. Visiting researcher during the graduated studies at the University of Leeds, Great Britain and the University of Adelaide, Australia. Post-doc at the Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics at the University of São Paulo, Brazil from 2004 until 2007. Researcher position at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany during 2007 and 2008 and Professor in Astroparticle Physics at the University of São Paulo since 2008. Member of the Pierre Auger Observatory and the CTA Observatory. Chair of the Consortium Board do CTA, Member of the Director Board of Latin-America Council for Physics, Coordinator of the Astronomy Panel of FAPESP, Co-chair of the Department of Physics and Interdisciplinary Science of IFSC/USP.

Steven Beckiwth

Affiliation: UC Berkeley

Talk: The Universe through the eye of the Hubble Space Telescope
Time: August 26, 00:10 UTC

Abstract: The Hubble Space Telescope was designed to measure the size and age of the universe and to have sharp enough images to prove that there were giant black holes in the centers of some nearby galaxies. Its value to science went far beyond these remarkable goals even as it succeeded in its original plans. It profoundly changed our understanding of almost every field of astronomy from our own solar system to the most distant proto-galaxies discovered in its deep fields. It revolutionized science in a way not anticipated by the people who created it. Just as importantly, its unsurpassed images of celestial objects revealed a beauty in the cosmos that captivated the world, introducing non-scientists and especially students to the wonders of modern astronomy. This talk will highlight some of HST’s astonishing revelations as well as some of its most beautiful images of our universe.

Bio: Steven Beckwith is an emeritus Professor of Astronomy at the University of California Berkeley. His 40-year career in research spans a wide spectrum of interests including the formation and early evolution of extra-solar planetary systems, the birth of new stars, and the birth of galaxies in the early universe. He has published widely, won several awards for his work, and is an elected member or fellow of several scientific societies. His current scientific interests focus on the origins of life. His early education was in Engineering Physics at Cornell University, (BS 1973) and in Physics at Caltech (PhD 1978). He became a member of the faculty at Cornell in 1978, remaining for there 13 years as a Professor of Astronomy. In 1991, he became a Director of the Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie in Heidelberg, Germany, overseeing a staff of 200 and responsible for the German National Observatory in Calar Alto, Spain. He returned to the United States in 1998 as the Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was responsible for the science operations of the Hubble Space Telescope, and as a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University. In 2008, he was appointed Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of California Office of the President, promoting the five billion dollar annual research enterprise across the ten-campus system and assisting with their mission to train young scholars. He was appointed to the faculty at UC Berkeley as a Professor of Astronomy in the same uyear. He took up his faculty position full time at Berkeley in July 2014. In July 2018, he became the Director of Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory where he served until 2022 and retired at the end of that year. In 2004, he led the team that created the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, the deepest visual image of the universe, resulting in the discovery of the most distant galaxies ever seen at the time. In the same year, he became the leading public spokesperson supporting continued operation of the Hubble Space Telescope following NASA’s announcement that it would no longer service the telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope remains in orbit and fully operational as one of NASA’s most popular and scientifically productive spacecraft of all time, following a successful a servicing mission in 2009. In addition to his work in research, he played an active role in the oversight and management of UC’s three laboratories for the Department of Energy, the Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, and Los Alamos National Laboratories. He also works with several nationally and international organizations to promote research and graduate education in the United States and other countries. He is currently a member of the CuRIOS project, a space observatory with several hundred small telescopes in low Earth orbit led by Professor Jessica Lu at Berkeley.