by Jessica Jervis-Viville

University of West Georgia will host a public astronomy talk entitled From the Ashes of Stars by Dr. Nick Sterling, assistant professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Science and Mathematics.

Dr. Nick Sterling in a black tee shirt smiles inside an old building“I’ve always been interested in astronomy,” Sterling explained. “I wasn't much of an amateur astronomer growing up, but I loved reading about everything related to space for as long as I can remember. It was only in my senior year of college that I began seriously thinking of a career in astronomy. I took a year off to do research after getting my bachelor of science and decided that's what I truly love to do.”

The talk will focus on the origin of elements and how the universe transformed from pure hydrogen and helium after the big bang into its current composition, with heavy elements that make up our planet. The lecture will include some of Sterling’s own research.

“In my research, I study how the universe evolved from pure hydrogen and helium after the big bang to its current chemical composition,” Sterling said. “It's fascinating to me that most of the elements found on Earth were once buried under billions of tons of mass in stars—or formed in stellar explosions.”

The lecture will be open to the public, and kids ages 12 and up are welcome. Sterling details the importance of educating the community on this scientific topic.

“I welcome anyone and everyone to attend my public talks,” exclaimed Sterling. “I believe that everyone is interested in astronomy to some extent, even if it's just looking up at the night sky and wondering what's up there. The universe is filled with amazing things that are fun to talk and learn about. I try to cover a lot of different areas in my talks. For example, the recently detected collision of two neutron stars may have produced several Earth masses of gold and will definitely be in my upcoming talk.”

Sterling hopes that by educating the public on these subjects, he will leave a lasting impression on their lives.

“Astronomy combines many areas of science, including physics, chemistry, geology, atmospheric science and even biology,” he concluded. “Learning about astronomy can get people excited about science in general.”

The lecture will be held in the Boyd Building of the Carrollton campus, Nov. 10 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Posted on October 31, 2017