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The James Webb Telescope and the Search for Life




for Members

The James Webb Telescope and the Search for Life

Monday, May 1, 2023


Presented By


Welcome and Introductions: 11:30 am to 11:45 am

Initial Presentation: 11:45 am to 12:45 pm

Speaker: Ruth Milts

Topic: The Black Death: How it Affected European Populations from 9000 BCE to 1400 CE

The Black Death, also known as the “Black Plague” has a long history. Between 9000 BCE and 1400 CE there were 5 major outbreaks, with devastating consequences for the populations of Europe and Asia. This presentation will examine the causes and consequences of this disease from a biological and paleo-anthropological perspective. It will show how milestones in human history—like the shift from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural ones, and the domestication of animals—had an effect on how the plague spread and how it became so deadly.

Ruth Milts graduated from Cornell University at age 19. She did graduate work in biology at Colombia University, where she received an M.S.  She worked for 33 years at William H. Maxwell Vocational High School in Brooklyn, first as a biology teacher and then as a Program Chairperson. Along the way she earned an M.A. from Pace University in College Administration and Supervision. She has always had a keen interest in paleo-anthropology and archaeology and has participated in archaeological digs in the Southwest and in England. Among her many interests are attending opera and doing beadwork.

Main Presentation: 12:45 pm to 2:30 pm

Speaker: Fred Cadieu

Topic: The James Webb Space Telescope and the Search for Life -- Here in the Solar System and Out There!

Today we are aware are of and know about 5,000 exoplanets. Decades ago, when the planning was done for the JWST, we knew little about exoplanets. But it turns out that the JWST’s infrared light design is admirably suited to the needs of studying exoplanets, as Fred Cadieu explains through his rich set of slides. The JWST also has examined solar system planets with great resolution. So, Fred comparatively deals with images and processes of both exoplanets  and inner solar system planet evolution.

Therefore, Fred’s talk is not only about planetary evolution, but also about JWST planning evolution. It is a tour-de-force of our current JWST science and culture by a planetary formation researcher and theorist. A brief discussion of big-bang-related JWST images will also be shown and interpreted using a history diagram showing a sequence of post-big-bang events.

After receiving BS, MS, and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago Fred Cadieu began his research career at Queens College of the City University of New York.  Over the years research has evolved from the synthesis of high Tc superconducting films to the synthesis of magnetic films and in particular to the synthesis of permanent magnet films, to the formation of the terrestrial planets in our solar system.  About 140 papers have been published by Fred Cadieu in these areas.


Nonmember Student, Undergrad, Grad, Fellow
Member Student, Post-Doc, Fellow