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April 29, 2002

Kathleen Burton

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-1731 or 604-9000


NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: Members of the news media and public are invited to attend the final talk in this year's 2001-2002 Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, to be held on Wednesday, May 1, at 7 p.m. PDT at Foothill College's Smithwick Theater, Los Altos Hills, Calif. More information is available by calling the series hotline at 650/949-7888.


"Navigating the Gulf: The Borderline of Science and Fiction" will be the topic of a free, non-technical talk at 7 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, May 1, at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Calif. The public is invited.

The talk will be delivered by Dr. Gregory Benford, who will discuss how science fiction can help us understand the universe and foreshadow events and technologies that may come to pass in the 21st century. Benford is the author of 20 works of science fiction, including the best-selling, "Timescape," a classic tale of messages across time that won the prestigious Nebula Award in 1980. Other books by Benford include "Deep Time" and, most recently, "Eater," a book about black holes that has been adapted for an upcoming 4-hour miniseries on the Fox network.

"The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series is a wonderful outreach resource that brings the latest research in astrobiology and astronomy to a wide audience," said NASA Ames Center Director Dr. Henry McDonald. "NASA Ames is proud to co-sponsor these efforts."

Benford is currently a professor of physics and an expert in plasma physics at the University of California, Irvine. Among his interests are relativistic electron beams and solar sails powered by microwave beams as a possible way to explore stars and planets.

This is the sixth and final talk in this year's Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, co-sponsored by NASA Ames, Foothill College's Division of Physical Science, Mathematics and Engineering, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the SETI Institute.

The lecture series is held at Foothill College's Smithwick Theater in Los Altos Hills. From interstate 280, exit at El Monte Road and travel west to the campus. Visitors must purchase a one-day campus-parking permit for $2. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Children over the age of 13 are welcome. More information is available by calling the series hotline at 650/949-7888.



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