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Our Island Universe: Cosmos

Our Search to Find Our Place in the Cosmos

  • 20 US dollars
  • Online

Service Description

Our ancestors were adept at decoding the sky to determine their position on the surface of the planet, to track the passage of time, and to ascertain when winter was approaching. Today, astrophysicists have learned our universe is filled with billions of galaxies, each of which can hold billions of stars. We now know that planets around these stars are common. Is the discovery of life on one of these planets next? ___________ Shanil is an award-winning astronomer, a passionate science educator, creator/host of Our Island Universe, & co-author of Daughter of the Stars, a photo-book about light pollution and the loss of night. Shanil did his undergraduate work in Physics and Philosophy at the University of Waterloo. He did his graduate work at Yale University where he studied supermassive black holes lurking at the centers of galaxies in the nearby and distant Universe. He was awarded the 2009 Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Award medal by the American Astronomical Society for exemplary research as a graduate student. Prior to Yale, Shanil spent 5+ years at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics as part of the Science Team of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, NASA's flagship, space-based, X-ray mission. While at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, he received several NASA Achievement Awards and awards of distinction from The Smithsonian Institution for his contributions to the operations of the Chandra X-ray Observatory. In 2013, he was appointed a Solar System Ambassador by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Solar System Ambassadors communicate the excitement of JPL's space exploration missions and information about recent discoveries to people in their local communities. In Fall of 2017, Shanil was nominated for James Madison University's Distinguished Teacher Award. He has authored or co-authored over 100 publications in scientific journals that have been cited more than 3,000 times. Shanil created and hosts #OurIslandUniverse, a look at all things space and how what goes on ``up there'' affects our life ``down here''. The central themes are to promote the public understanding of science, our exploration of the natural world, and how modern science is really a continuation of our species natural desire to understand the cosmos and our perspective within it. Astronomy is a shared cultural connection and by telling stories of our past and present, he hopes to inspire the future.

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