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Disruptive Astronomy
Thursday, February 22, 2018, 11:30am - 01:00pm


Disruptive Astronomy:  How Technology, Serendipity, and the Weirdness of Nature Have Changed What We Know About the Universe

Dan Jaffe, Ph.D., Vice President of Research
Professor of Astronomy, College of Natural Sciences

Thursday, February 22, 2018
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Room 202  AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center 
$25, includes lunch with vegan and gluten-free options
UT Procard accepted for online registration.
UT IDTs accepted. CPE credit offered. Contact Gayle Hight

Register Today

Enjoy a lunch and learn on February 22 as Daniel Jaffe, astronomy professor and vice president of research, shares the parallels he sees between disruptive astronomy and disruptive technology. 


  • How post-WWII technologies opened new modes of discovery 
  • What technologies astronomers use and how they work
  • The industries “discovered” by disruptions in astronomy 
  • The constraints and competitive challenges that businesses and astronomers both face. What they can learn from each other.


"We had our Universe literally laid out in front of us in 1990 and here we are 25 years later and it’s a whole new ballgame. People have had to change what they’re doing, techniques they’re using, and develop new instrumentation because the world is not what we thought it was."  UT Astronomy Professor and VP of Research Dan Jaffe. 


Daniel Jaffe is the Vice President for Research and Jane and Roland Blumberg Professor in the Department of Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Jaffe received his BA and Ph.D. from Harvard University and held positions as an Enrico Fermi Fellow at the University of Chicago and an Assistant Research Scientist at UC Berkeley before joining the UT faculty in 1986. Jaffe's research encompasses device development, instrumentation, and observations geared toward understanding how stars and planetary systems form and evolve.

His group constructs silicon diffractive optics using precision lithography and currently has devices on instruments for NASA's SOFIA airborne observatory and James Webb Space Telescope (the successor to Hubble), as well as several ground-based instruments. His team's IGRINS spectrograph operates at McDonald Observatory and the team is now designing an instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope. Prof. Jaffe's astronomical research employs high-resolution infrared spectroscopy to look at the properties of protostars and of the disks around them that are forming planets.

Prof. Jaffe has been awarded Harvard's Bart J. Bok prize, a Humboldt Fellowship, and a David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship. He was Chair of UT's Astronomy Department from 2011 to 2015.


Event Co-Sponsors