Home Official News Releases Drake Observatory series to examine bad science and inaccurate beliefs

Drake Observatory series to examine bad science and inaccurate beliefs

News PhotoThe spring lecture series at the Drake Municipal Observatory will present its second installation with a discussion on inaccurate beliefs about science on Friday, March 26.

The event, “Just Plain Wrong,” is free and open to the public. It will start at 8 p.m. at the observatory in Waveland Park on the west side of Des Moines, 4898 Observatory Road, off Polk Boulevard. Parking is available adjacent to the observatory.

Science that is believed to be fact, but is actually wrong, will be discussed in this installment of the series. Some of the examples offered will be the dispelling of myths that there is no gravity in space, or that heavier things fall faster with the same gravity.

Herbert Schwartz and Charles Nelson of Drake’s Physics and Astronomy Department aim to dispel these myths and bad science to promote the use of scientific facts and logic. “There are general beliefs regarding science and space that are just plain untrue,” Schwartz said.

This semester’s series focuses on what astronomers and the public believe to be true, but are often wrong. Topics will include basic assumptions by the public regarding space and our universe, the doomsday predictions of 2012 and others and the unknown questions astronomers have yet to answer.

Each week there is a non-technical, illustrated presentation by Nelson and Schwartz. Every presentation is followed by the opportunity to view several stellar objects through the large refracting telescope and several smaller reflecting telescopes.

The programs are held regardless of the weather, although the selection for observation is subject to change due to sky conditions or other special circumstances. Individuals, families, and small groups are welcomed to attend. A parent or responsible adult must accompany children.

The schedule for the remainder of the spring series is listed below:

  • April 2: “Hoaxes”
  • April 9: “Fact vs. Fiction”
  • April 16: “Seeing Is Not Believing”
  • April 23: “The End of the World STAR PARTY”
  • April 30: “There Be Dragons!”
  • May 7: “The Mystery Remains”

For more information, contact Drake’s Department of Physics and Astronomy at 515-271-3141.