Dr. Sarah Stewart UC-Davis will be our guest for this week’s MSUM Physics & Astronomy Seminar, Friday, April 16 at 3 PM CST!

Dr. Stewart studies the origin and evolution of planets. She is a recipient of a MacArthur ‘genius prize’ for her work on planetary collisions and the discovery of synestias. At UC Davis, Stewart directs the Shock Compression Laboratory, which uses enormous cannons to explore the physics of planetary impacts. Stewart was also a featured speaker on TED.com for her work on the origin of the Moon.

A new origin story for the Earth and Moon


The origin of the Earth and Moon is one of science’s greatest mystery stories, complete with false starts and dead ends. The Apollo missions shattered all the previous ideas about making the Moon. But the precious lunar samples contain a major clue to our planet’s creation: the Moon is Earth’s isotopic twin. The isotopes of different elements are like a planetary fingerprint: no two bodies are the same – except the Earth and Moon. After Apollo, a giant impact became the most likely explanation for the Moon, but it failed to explain this key observation. Stewart will talk about the accidental discovery of a new type of astronomical object, called a synestia, that may save the idea of a giant impact and forever change the way you think about the birth of our planet.

Dr. Stewart will be joining us via Zoom.   Note that the date (4/16/21) is about one month ahead of time.  Please see and share the attached flyer for this event.

Reminder that Hagen Hall 325 has a 21-person capacity due to Covid guidelines.

The presentation will also be available via Zoom at the following link.




Sean Nomoto