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Public Invited to Free Lecture at NASA Goddard: Reaching for the Stars
GREENBELT, Md. -- The public is invited to a free event on Nov. 14 to experience "Space Exploration and Humanity's Quest to Understand Everything," by Dr. David T. Leisawitz, chief of the Science Proposal Support Office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The talk is part of the Gerald Soffen Lecture Series and will be held at the Visitor Center at NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, Md., on Wed., Nov. 14, 2012, at 7 p.m. EST (doors will open at 6:45 p.m.). The free talk is about one hour and will end with a question and answer session. Registration is requested online at: Pre-registration will be open until Nov. 9, 2012.

How are innate human qualities reflected in our quest to explore and comprehend the universe? Our nation's space science endeavors have practical and sometimes hidden benefits, and can be inspiring. Fundamentally, however, they are a manifestation of human nature, and something in which we can all take pride. Using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission as an example, we’ll bring a space mission "down to Earth" to demystify the machines that help us answer some of the deepest questions we've thought to ask, to share the joy of scientific discovery, and to shed a bit of light on the path that lies ahead.

Dave Leisawitz is the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission scientist. Leisawitz came to NASA Goddard as a National Research Council post-doctorate, after earning a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Texas at Austin, to analyze data from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite. Leisawitz mentors undergraduate and graduate students and postdocs who collaborate with him on interferometry and infrared astrophysics, and he enjoys devoting time to education and public outreach.

The Gerald Soffen lecture series is dedicated to Dr. Gerald Soffen (1926-2000) who led the science team for NASA's Viking program, was director of Life Sciences at NASA Headquarters, project scientist for NASA's Earth Observing System, and created NASA Academy, NASA's premiere leadership training internship. The Viking 2 lander was posthumously named after Dr. Soffen and a crater on Mars was named "Soffen." He was best known, however, for his passion for inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The Goddard Visitor Center is located off ICESat Road. Once on ICESat Road, turn left into the Visitor Center prior to the security checkpoint. Visitors are still welcome to attend without pre-registration. Attendees who have submitted pre-registration forms will have priority for seating and overflow seating may be required to accommodate all guests.

To register online, go to:

For directions to the Goddard Visitor Center, visit:

Goddard Release No. 12-084

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.