Deep space: Scientist will discuss Hubble telescope’s probe of distant universe


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A former director and astronomer emeritus of the Space Telescope Science Institute, Robert Williams, will talk about “Probing the Distant Universe with the Hubble Space Telescope” Oct. 31 at the University of Louisville.

    Williams’ free, public talk – the annual Bullitt lecture in astronomy – will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium. The science education advocate will share a brief history of the telescope, launched in 1990 and still in operation, and explain how astronomers have used the large instrument to look back in time to piece together the formation of the universe’s structure shortly after the Big Bang. The telescope’s clear view of the distant universe improved scientific understanding of deep space and is generally considered its most important accomplishment.

    Williams was director from 1993 to 1998 at the Baltimore-based institute, which operates the Hubble Space Telescope with Goddard Space Flight Center for NASA and the European Space Agency. He earned NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal in 1999 and the American Astronomical Society’s Beatrice Tinsley Prize in 1998 for leadership of the Hubble Deep Field Project, which revealed in detail the evolution of galaxies from the early universe to the present.

    Williams, who serves as a University of California-Santa Cruz Donald Osterbrock mentor, previously was a University of Arizona astronomy professor and spent eight years in Chile as director of Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, the national observatory of the United States in the Southern Hemisphere. He is an International Astronomical Union past president and an American Academy of Arts and Sciences member.

    UofL’s physics and astronomy department and the Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium present the annual Bullitt lectures through an endowment established by the family of former U.S. Solicitor General William Marshall Bullitt.  

    For more information, contact Benne Holwerda at 502-852-6790 or or check the physics and astronomy department’s website,


    EDITORS: Williams’ photo is attached.

    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.