Science Night Live: John Belz

On November 10, at Keys on Main, research professor John Belz gave his presentation “Desert Rain: Particle Astrophysics Under Utah Skies” as part of the College of Science’s Science Night Live Lecture series. The previous Science Night Live presentation given from a member of the department was “Stellar Imaging: Back to the Future” presented by Professor Stephan LeBohec in April 2009.


Professor Belz’s lecture was about the ongoing Telescope Array project. Utah has some of the best dark-sky sites in the country for astronomy observations. In fact, the Beehive State is becoming an international center for astrophysics research. The Telescope Array project, near Delta, Utah, is a collaboration between universities and institutes in Japan, Korea, Russia, the U.S., China, and Taiwan. The facility can observe cosmic rays with energies up to and above 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 electron volts - that is a subatomic particle carrying the same energy as a fast-pitched baseball!

What is the source of these extremely high-energy particles flying through space? Belz discussed the possibility of detecting cosmic rays by their radar echo. Ever wonder what a cosmic ray sounds like?

The next Science Night Live lecture will take place February 23, 2011 with famed biologist Baldomero Olivera, “New Drugs From the Venoms of Marine Snails”. For more information, please visit: