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Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: February 13, 2012 12:26:06 PM PST
Scientist Charles Clark to Present 'The Other World Seen by Animals' Feb. 15 at WWU

Contact:  Western Washington University College of Sciences and Technology at (360) 650-2454.

BELLINGHAM – Charles Clark of the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) and the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland, will present “The Other World Seen by Animals” at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, in Communications Facility 125 on the Western Washington University campus.

The program is free and open to the public.

Much of what we understand about the world comes from our eyes, which sense the colors from red to violet that are expressed in the rainbow. Yet we know that this patch of colors is just our own home island in the vast electromagnetic spectrum, which extends from radio waves to gamma rays.

Two unseen regions of great importance to us are those just above and just below the rainbow – the infrared and ultraviolet, respectively. These were discovered about 200 years ago in inspired experiments that anyone can understand, originally conducted by Frederick William Herschel and Johann Wilhelm Ritter. Only recently has it come to be understood that a variety of animals live in a visual world totally unfamiliar to us, particularly in the ultraviolet.

Clark will discuss this from the perspective of measurement science, and demonstrate other influences of the ultraviolet in technology, astronomy and climate change.

Clark is a 1974 graduate of Western, where he majored in Mathematics and Physics. He obtained his doctorate in Physics from the University of Chicago in 1979 and was chief of the NIST Electron and Optical Physics Division for 20 years before being appointed a NIST Fellow in 2010. His research activities are focused on theoretical atomic, molecular and optical physics. He is actively engaged in spreading physics research news through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

For more information on Clark’s lecture, contact Western’s College of Sciences and Technology at (360) 650-2454. 

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