Burlington Native & Astrophysicist Brian Metzger to Speak at SCC on Nov 20


West Burlington – Dr. Brian Metzger, a Burlington native and associate professor of astrophysics at the University of Columbia in New York City, will give a presentation at SCC on Tuesday, Nov. 20, from 2 – 3 p.m.

Metzger will spend his time with students describing his academic and career journeys.

"This will be an impactful afternoon for area students," says SCC physics professor Dr. Rahmat Rahmat. "There is no end to what we can discover, and meeting Dr. Metzger will show our students that they really can turn their passion into a career."

Metzger won the 2019 Breakthrough New Horizons in Physics Prize earlier this month for his role in figuring out that much of the gold in the universe is produced by collisions between stars.
The award is considered "The Oscars of Science," and celebrates the top achievements in physics, life sciences, and math.

The National Geographic Society described his findings as intense smashups that create what Metzger called a "kilonova," or an explosion that is intermediate in brightness between a supernova (when a dying star explodes) and a nova (when a star has a brief spasm).

"We found where gold is coming from in nature, and we saw what happens when two neutron stars slam together and make a black hole," Metzger reported to the National Geographic. "How would the world have evolved differently if neutron star mergers were 10 times as common, and gold were not such a rare commodity?"

Born and raised in Burlington, Iowa, Metzger received his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa in 2003 and his PhD from the Department of Physics at UC Berkeley in 2009. He went on to hold a NASA Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship at Princeton University before beginning his current position at Columbia University. He was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship in 2014 and was named a 2018 Finalist of the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists.

The event is free and open to the public and will be held in the Little Theater on SCC's West Burlington campus.

For a submitted photo of Dr. Metzger, head to our file-photo page: https://www.scciowa.edu/marketing/2018/photos/file-photos/

For more news or to learn about Southeastern Community College, visit: https://www.scciowa.edu/rss/news/index.html