old observatory dome and partial view of new addition

Seeing Anew:
The Detroit Observatory
Yesterday, Today,
and Tomorrow
April 8, 2022

We are thrilled to celebrate the re-opening of U-M’s historic Judy and Stanley Frankel Detroit Observatory! In this series of virtual panels, we explored the history of the Observatory, its impact on American astronomy, and the new educational potential that it has as a result of the new addition generously funded by the Frankels.  In the evening, astrophysicist Brian Nord, PhD ’10, discussed the role of science in society and how humans organize themselves to learn. We then re-opened the Observatory with in-person activities that were part of Statewide Astronomy Night (advance registration required). Relive the action through the links below!

Session 1 (virtual)
12:00 - 1:45 p.m.
The Observatory and 19th-Century Science and Scholarship 

Welcome (12:00 – 12:15)

  • Mary Sue Coleman, President, University of Michigan (recorded remarks)
  • Gary Krenz, Ph.D., Director, Detroit Observatory, U-M
  • Terry McDonald, Director, Bentley Historical Library, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and Professor of History, U-M

First Panel (12:15-1:45): The Observatory and 19th-Century Science and Scholarship 

  • Henry Cowles, Associate Professor of History, U-M
  • Gary Krenz, Ph.D., Director, Detroit Observatory, U-M

Terry McDonald, moderator, Director, Bentley Historical Library, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and Professor of History, U-M

Watch here

Session 2 (virtual)
2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
The Observatory in the History of Astronomy

Second Panel: The Observatory in the History of Astronomy

  • Pat Seitzer, Research Professor of Astronomy, emeritus, U-M
  • Andrew Rutledge, Ph.D., Research Associate, Bentley Historical Library, U-M
  • Sally Oey, Professor of Astronomy, U-M

Gary Krenz, moderator, Director, Detroit Observatory, U-M

Watch here

Session 3 (virtual)
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
The Observatory as an Historic Site for Contemporary Education

Third Panel: The Observatory as an Historic Site for Contemporary Education

  • Michelle McClellan, Ph.D., Johanna Meijer Magoon Principal Archivist, Bentley Historical Library, U-M
  • Dean Regas, Astronomer, Cincinnati Observatory
  • Robert Stencel, Professor of Astronomy, emeritus, and former Director, Chamberlin Observatory, University of Denver

Austin Edmister, moderator, Assistant Director for Astronomy, Detroit Observatory

Watch here

Portrain of astrophysicist Brian Nord

Session 4 - Keynote (virtual)
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Brian Nord, PhD '10
in conversation with Gary Krenz

Brian Nord is a Scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab; CASE Associate, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago; and Senior Member, Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics

Brian received his Ph.D. in astrophysics from U-M in 2010.  He currently works on teaching machines to search for clues of the universe’s origin and destiny. In particular, he uses artificial intelligence to study the cosmos, including dark energy, dark matter, and the early universe.  He actively works on statistical modeling of strong gravitational lenses, the cosmic microwave background, and galaxy clusters.

Dr. Nord is also a leader in the movement to address inequities and oppression in academic and research environments. He co-created the academic #Strike4BlackLives (strike4blacklives.com) in June 2020 and works to drive anti-racist efforts and develop justice-oriented communities. He co-founded the Deep Skies Community (deepskieslab.ai), which is dedicated to shared leadership and prioritizing the humanity of research colleagues over productivity — one of the first of its kind.


Watch here

 

Statewide Astronomy Night at the Detroit Observatory (in-person)
8:00 - 11:00 p.m.

After being closed for almost three years for the construction of a wonderful new accessibility and education addition, the Detroit Observatory finally opened its doors to visitors!  We were proud to host an event associated with Statewide Astronomy Night!

Attendees had the chance to see the stunning new video wall, interact with our student docents, and engage with a variety of digital and physical exhibits!