Personal data - family, hobbies, and some links to related sites on the www.
My "virtual origami exhibit" is now on-line here! Check out "Planet in the wind of a dying star" and "A Comet has two tails" and some recent work.
Here is a .pdf file of a recent 5-minute "Glimpse" presentation on my artwork, including photographs, and how it is influenced by my science. Note that all images are reduced to moderate resolution, much less than the originals.
Picture(s) of me.
Photographs from the Altered Earth exhibit held at CASA during March/April 2010.
My appointment (since 1973) is with the Astronomy Program. of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. I am on phased retirement through May 2014.
For 2013-2014 I am managing the two web courses (Astro 102 and 103). The content of the web courses is available to all at the Polaris Project; to receive credit and a grade requires registering through normal ISU channels or as an off-campus student via Continuing Education.
Currently, I am working on a book "Essential Physics of Stellar and Planetary Atmospheres" to be published by Cambridge University Press.
My research focusses on the mechanisms and implications of mass loss from stars. You can get an overview from my review article Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysicson the subject of Mass Loss from Cool Stars. A more recent paper concerns what we know about the dependence of mass loss rates on stellar L, M and R; many may find the answers surprising.
The transparencies (or powerpoint) from representative talks, in .pdf format:
The Far Future Sun and the Ultimate Fates of the Planets (semi-popular talk from the AAAS meeting in DC, February 2000)
A talk given at the Biggest, Baddest, Coolest Stars conference at Eastern Tennessee State University.
Two talks given in Uppsala in 2004; together, they cover most of what we have been working on. First talk; second talk.
A popular-level talk on Astrology, Astronomy and Cosmology, given for the College for Seniors at ISU, includes reference to the accelerating universe, the criteria for planets, and the future of the Earth, among other items.
For something entirely different: Here is a paper I wrote about J. Lawrence Smith, a 19th-century chemist with an interest in meteorites.
During the last two decades I have served on quite a few committees and councils, including a term as president of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO ), one as chair of the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and for 13 years as a member of the board of directors of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)*. In the past, I have also served on committees for NASA and the American Astronomical Society (AAS). I recently finished a term as VP of the AAS with responsibility for the scientific content of the 2012 meetings - January in Austin, TX and June in Anchorage, AK.
What I learned from all this "service" work has been put
to use in a different context: A group of us organized Creative Artists' Studios of Ames, Inc. or CASA for short, where I served
as founding President November 2000 - June 2003. CASA celebrated 8 years of successful operation in January 2009, as the first member moved into a studio on 1/1/01; it has 30+ active, artist, members most of whom rent space at 130 S. Sheldon, in Ames. I am currently secretary for this organization as well as electronic newsnote editor; email me if you would like to be on our mailing list: lwillson(at)iastate.edu or info(at)www.CreativeArtists.org .
*AURA operates NOAO and SScI.