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Lecture: “From Tachyons to Warp Drives: Physics in Star Trek”

March 24 @ 4:00 pm 5:00 pm MDT

A Lecture By: Dr. Erin Macdonald (Ph.D. Astrophysics), CBS Star Trek Franchise Science Consultant, Fort Collins Native, and Poudre High School IB graduate.

Presented by the FC Museum of Discovery and the Fort Collins Symphony
Date: Thursday, March 24, 2022
Time: 4:00-5:00 PM – Lecture by Dr. Erin Macdonald
Tickets: FREE  Note: By reservation only; limited seating. https://fcmod.org/
Location: The Museum of Discovery, 408 Mason Ct. Fort Collins, CO 80524

When Dr. Erin Macdonald was finishing her Ph.D. in gravitational astrophysics at the University of Glasgow, she took a break from writing her dissertation and tried to work out how warp travel might work.* As an expert in Einstein’s relativity, Dr. Macdonald was perfectly positioned to puzzle over the query. While she hasn’t totally worked out the problem, she has parlayed her interest in the science of Star Trek into a career as a science consultant – and thankfully, she’s willing to share her expertise with Star Trek fans across the universe.

Enthusiastic Trekkies who don’t have much of a science background often struggle to tell what’s real and what’s not. Macdonald’s lecture provides a rare opportunity to get answers from a professional who shares a passion for Trek technologies and brings her technical expertise to bear on it. She’ll explain everything from transporters, cloaking devices, tricorders and warp drives to tachyons, photon torpedoes, and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity – all in plain language and concepts that even a Muggle can understand! Join Macdonald for her one-hour lecture, From Tachyons to Warp Drives: Physics in Star Trek, at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery on Thursday, March 24, at 4:00 p.m. in the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater. Tickets are free, seating is limited, reservations are required: fcmod.org


Bio: Fort Collins native Dr. Erin Macdonald is a graduate of the Poudre School District (International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, Poudre High School). At the University of Colorado (Boulder), she dual-majored in Physics with Astrophysics (cum laude) and Mathematics. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow (Scotland) in Gravitational Astrophysics. Her post-doctoral research with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration on gravitational waves from dead and colliding stars and black holes resulted in the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. She has taught at the college level, worked with the Denver Museum of Science and Nature, and written and narrated numerous popular science podcasts including an Audible Original series produced by The Great Courses on “The Science of Sci-Fi” which reached the Audible Non-Fiction Top 10 bestseller list in March 2020. Currently, Macdonald works as a technical advisor at the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in Los Angeles. In addition, she was recently hired as the CBS Star Trek Franchise science consultant. Macdonald is an internationally sought-after public speaker, educator, STEAM advocate, writer, and technical consultant who explains complex physics and astronomy ideas to varied audiences. For more information, please visit: www.erinpmacdonald.com

The FCS Get Lost in Space events (March 23-25) are sponsored by: The Fort Collins Symphony, the FC Museum of Discovery, the Lyric Cinema, Audiology Group of Northern Colorado, Marilyn Cockburn, Gwen Hatchette & Mark Goldrich, Dr. Kenneth & Paisley Pettine, the Rotary Club of Fort Collins, Kilwins Chocolates and Ice Cream, Paul Wood Florist. The Fort Collins Symphony’s 2021-2022 Season is sponsored by the City of Fort Collins Fort Fund, Colorado Creative Industries, Dr. David & Alison Dennis, The Lyric Cinema, National Endowment for the Arts, Dr. Ed Siegel, Dr. Peter Springberg & Janet Kowall. Media sponsors are KRFC 88.9 FM Radio Fort Collins and KUNC 91.5 FM Radio NPR.

*Some article excerpts are taken from Dispatches from #STLV: ‘Physics of Trek’ Teaches Physicists and Non-Scientists Alike by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein: August 5, 2019

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