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William F. Marlar Lectures

William F. Marlar was a businessman in Denver, Colorado, who was tragically disabled as a result of a robbery. His wife, Freda Marlar, assumed the management of the business, which prospered under her direction. She was a staunch American patriot and believer in the free enterprise system. At the time the Soviets launched their Sputnik in 1957, she felt that American ingenuity and technical knowledge should be stimulated from the private sector of the economy in an effort to equal and eventually surpass the Soviet space accomplishments. To aid in this purpose she established the William F. Marlar Memorial Foundation, which has continued to promote her initial purposes through university grants, since her death in 1968.  The Marlar Lecture Series, established in 1982, brought distinguished scientists from the fields of space physics or astronomy to Rice each year to present both a technical seminar and a general public talk on the most exciting current topics of these fields.  Previous Marlar Lecturers and their topics are shown below. The lecture series was discontinued after 2015.


27.  Dr. Fran Bagenal
LASP, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
The New Horizons Mission to Pluto
November 23, 2015
26.  Dr. Linda Spilker
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
Cassini Science Highlights: Surprises in the Saturn System
September 25, 2013
25.  Dr. Mike Brown
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
How I killed Pluto and why it had it coming
March 30, 2010
24.  Dr. Neil Gehrels
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt,MD
Black Holes: "From Einstein to Gamma Ray Bursts"
April 7, 2009
23.  Dr. Edward Stone
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
Exploring the Final Frontier of the Solar System
April 19, 2007
22.  Dr. John Brown
Astronomer Royal, University of Glasgow, Scotland
Black Holes and White Rabbits
March 9, 2006

21. Dr. Geoff Marcy
University of California, Berkeley
Planets, Yellowstone, and the Prospects for Life in the Universe
September 14, 2004

20 Dr. Louis J. Lanzerotti
Bell Laboratories
Weather in Space: Effects on Technologies
March 18, 2003

19. Dr. Alex Filippenko
University of California, Berkeley
Einstein's Biggest Blunder? The Case for Cosmic Antigravity
April 25, 2002

18. Dr. James L. Burch
Southwest Research Institute
The Fury of Space Storms
March 28, 2001

17. Dr. Frank Shu
University of California, Berkeley
The Origin of Sunlike Stars and Planetary Systems
November 17, 1999

16. Dr. Alexander J. Dessler
Professor Emeritus, Rice University
Giant Airships and the Space Shuttle: An Historical Analogy
April 15, 1998

15. Dr. Robert E. Williams
Director, Space Telescope Science Institute
Probing the Universe with the Hubble Space Telescope
March 6, 1997

14. Dr. Sidney van den Bergh
Dominion Astronomical Observatory, Canada
Asteroids and Dinosaurs
March 13, 1996

13. Dr. Charles F. Kennel
NASA Headquarters
Global Environmental Science at the Turn of the Millennium
April 6, 1995

12. Dr. David Schramm
University of Chicago
Dark Matter and the Structure of the Universe
March 8, 1994

11. Dr. Susan Solomon
Aeronomy Lab ERL/NOAA
Ozone Depletion at the ends of the Earth and Points in Between
November 11, 1992

10. Dr. Eric P. Priest
St. Andrews University
Our Dynamic Sun
March 25, 1992

9. Dr. Joseph H. Taylor
Princeton University
Pulsars, Clocks and Gravity
October 24, 1990

8. Dr. John Imbrie
Brown University
Explaining the Ice Ages
November 1, 1989

7. Dr. G. Haerendel
Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrial Physics
Exploring Comets by Direct Encounter and by Space Simulation
March 17, 1988

6. Dr. James E. Gunn
Princeton University
Galaxy Formation
April 20, 1987

5. Dr. Alexander Dalgarno
Harvard University
Molecules in the Universe
April 4, 1986

4. Sir Fred Hoyle
Fellow of the Royal Society, UK
Facts Concerning the Existence of Extraterrestrial Life
April 23, 1985

3. Dr. Michael McElroy
Harvard University
Planetary Atmospheres
April 17-19, 1984

2. Dr. E. E. Salpeter
Cornell University
Galaxy Clusters and Invisible Mass in the Universe
April 14, 1983

1. Dr. Eugene N. Parker
Enrico Fermi Institute
Why are there Spots on the Sun?
March 25, 1982

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