Astronomy and the Progression of Disruption – Tony Hull

Tony Hull, Adjunct Professor of Physics & Astronomy
University of New Mexico. Tony Hull first heard his destiny calling as a young boy perched on a Connecticut farmhouse rooftop under a glittering night sky. He’s now helping develop NASA’s next generation Spaceborne Flagship Mission, Habitable Worlds Observatory. Along the way including participation in many spaceborne missions at NASA and in industry, he led the team of 60 over 5-years polishing the suite JWST mirrors, and now is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at The University of New Mexico.

Having surveyed the progress of understanding our place in the Universe, Tony will take us on a journey, from one disruption of our worldview to the next, as allowed by the evolution of instrumentation to better view and analyze the cosmos. We have gone from exploiting our active senses, to other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum…gamma-ray, x-ray, ultraviolet, infrared, sub-millimeter waves, microwave and long wavelength radio. And now with multi-messengers… cosmic rays, neutrinos, and even gravity waves.

He will walk us into his experience having been part of making the Webb Great Observatory, share some of Webb’s sensational imagery and ponder its meanings. In 2021, The National Academy of Science’s Decadal Survey of Astrophysics defined a new frontier, the Habitable Worlds Observatory’s (HWO) with unique features to view of Earth-like exoplanets. NASA will implement a telescope comparable in size to Webb but with stability requirements at the billionth of a millimeter level, and challenges are expected to be 100x more than those of Webb.

Tony’s life work speaks to fascination with the meeting point of inspiration, coincidence and science. He notes as we seem to get closer and closer to the magic behind it all with magnificent new instruments, new secrets of the universe are revealed. The cycle goes on…