J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee
PO Box 220, Los Alamos, NM 87544

JROMC is pleased to sponsor the next free lecture Solar Eclipses and Ones I Have Seen by Steve Becker, an astronomer and nuclear weapons designer at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The talk will be held on Wednesday, March 13, at 7 pm at the SALA Event Center, 2551 Central Ave, Los Alamos, NM. This talk will be presented just weeks before a second solar eclipse (in less than 6 months) will be visible across much of the United States.


Solar Eclipses and Ones I Have Seen


Steve Becker, LANL Fellow and astronomer, has witnessed thirteen solar eclipses across the globe. He will share information, including why they occur and how people reacted to them in the past; photographs and a travelog on eclipses he has seen; and viewing tips for how to safely observe the rare and fascinating phenomena of an eclipse.

Speaker Biography:

Steve earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern, a master’s in astronomy from Case Western, and his PhD in astronomy from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, specializing in the field of stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis. As a graduate student, he first visited Los Alamos in 1978 to give an astrophysics presentation. While he was a postdoc at CalTech, his advisor was Dr. Willy Fowler (who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1985). During that period, Steve returned to LANL several times as a visiting scientist to do stellar evolution calculations. He became a LANL staff member in 1983 and has worked at the Laboratory for more than 40 years.

Steve has received numerous awards, including three DOE Awards of Excellence, an R&D 100 Award, and two LANL Distinguished Performance Awards. In 2009 Steve was made a Laboratory Fellow, an honor restricted to the top two percent of the Lab’s PhDs. Steve is a Scientist Level 6, the highest level for staff members at the Laboratory. He is an expert in nuclear weapon design and is currently involved in assessing foreign intelligence on other nations’ nuclear weapon capabilities.

Still committed to his initial scientific interest in astronomy, Steve is a member of the American Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union. He has previously served as president of the Pajarito Astronomy Club and conducts planetarium shows at the PEEC Nature Center.  Since 1970, he has viewed 13 total solar eclipses all over the globe. In 1995, he made it to the interview stage of NASA’s astronaut selection process, and he hopes to achieve his dream of going into outer space on a future Virgin Galactic suborbital flight.