NOVAC Public Meeting – 2/5/23, 7:30pm EST

Join NOVAC as we welcome Dr. Brian Williams from the Goddard Space Flight Center.     Brian will be discussing supernova, the cataclysmic explosions of stars, and help us understand why they occur and what the structures and remnants can tell us about our cosmos. 

This NOVAC meeting will be held both in-person at George Mason University as well as live-streamed via Google Meet.  Dr. Williams will be in person at GMU for the talk.  Here is information for both ways to connect.

In Person Option:

Meet at George Mason University, Exploratory Hall, Room 3301.  Check GMU web site for nearby parking options.  Some lots or garages do charge for parking.  Room will be open as early as 6:45pm.

Virtual Option: Join using Google Meet

Video call link:
Or dial: ‪(US) +1 484-430-1468‬ PIN: ‪486 839 001‬#
More phone numbers:

Presentation Details:

Title: Historical Supernovae and the Future of X-ray Astronomy

Abstract: Supernovae, the cataclysmic explosions of stars, are among the most powerful events in the universe. They are a major component of the cycle of interstellar matter, and shape the internal structures of galaxies, seeding the cosmos with the elements necessary for life itself. In their aftermath, expanding clouds of gas and dust known as supernova remnants are visible for thousands of years. Despite no nearby supernovae in centuries, these remnants allow us to study the explosion mechanisms “up-close,” while simultaneously observing the reprocessing of the interstellar medium as the blast wave races outwards. I will give a general overview of some of the science of these remnants, showing many beautiful examples from telescopes such as Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and the VLA. I will also give a mission-level overview of an exciting mission in development: the X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission, or XRISM. XRISM is a JAXA/NASA collaborative mission with ESA participation, and is targeted for launch in the spring of 2023.

Biography:  Dr. Brian Williams is a Research Astrophysicist in the X-ray Astrophysics Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He earned a B.S. in Physics from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in Physics from North Carolina State University. He came to Goddard as a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow in 2012. From 2017-2018, he worked at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD in mission support for both the Hubble and JWST missions. In 2018, he returned to NASA Goddard, where he currently works as Project Scientist for XRISM. From 2020-2022, he served as Chief Scientist for the Physics of the Cosmos Program Office at NASA. Dr. Williams was a 2020 recipient of the NASA Early Career Achievement Medal. He has approximately 70 refereed publications with approximately 2500 citations.

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