Having a BLAST at Penn

By Mark Trodden | April 10, 2009 2:05 pm

My colleague Mark Devlin is the Principal Investigator of the Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (BLAST). BLAST is a terrific experiment that does a number of different things, including studying the history of galaxy formation through measuring the cosmic infrared background produced by star-forming galaxies. Over at In the Dark, Peter Coles has also discussed BLAST, since the Cardiff group are a big part of the experiment.

This week has been a big one for BLAST, seeing the publication of a host of papers, including a major results paper appearing in Nature.

In addition, the science writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer – Faye Flam – wrote a nice article about the experiment, describing not only the results, but the compelling and dramatic story associated with the recovery of the data. Remarkably, Mark’s brother, Paul, who is a documentary film maker, was covering the experiment when all the excitement happened, and the result is a riveting movie titled, not surprisingly, BLAST!, that is being screened on Wednesday evening on the Penn campus. We saw a clip of this at our recent launch event for the Center for Particle Cosmology, and it’s a great advertisement for science as an exciting endeavor.

I hope you’ll see the movie, so I won’t spoil the surprise by discussing what happened. But here’s the trailer!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science, Science and Society

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About Mark Trodden

Mark Trodden holds the Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Endowed Chair in Physics and is co-director of the Center for Particle Cosmology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a theoretical physicist working on particle physics and gravity— in particular on the roles they play in the evolution and structure of the universe. When asked for a short phrase to describe his research area, he says he is a particle cosmologist.


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