Professor Presents Research to Royal Astronomical Society

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University assistant physics professor John Armstrong recently had the opportunity to present his research to the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) in London. In the process, he also had a chance to promote his WSU students and their scientific work to an international audience.

Armstrong was invited to make two presentations before the renowned society, an opportunity he characterized as “once-in-a-lifetime.”

“The most memorable moment was standing in the Royal Astronomical Society’s library … considering how long it has been around and who has probably sat in that library,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong was invited to attend the RAS’s special discussion meeting on “Astrobiology on the Moon,” held May 14. Several years ago Armstrong wrote a paper suggesting terrestrial meteorites might be found on the moon. That research was the basis for a 25-minute presentation to approximately 40 scientists from the United States and Great Britain.

Later in the day, Armstrong presented “60 Minutes to Near Space,” to more than 100 people at an open meeting of the RAS. This presentation focused on his research work with WSU students and the university’s High Altitude Reconnaissance Balloon for Outreach and Research (HARBOR) project and its applications in geology, astrobiology and astronomy.

Following his second presentation, Armstrong met David Cullens, who runs the high altitude ballooning program at the University of Cambridge. The hope is the two universities might be able to collaborate on some upcoming flights.

Now back stateside, Armstrong plans to spend much of the summer working on future HARBOR launches and the Virtual Planetary Lab, a NASA-sponsored program that uses computers to model and predict Earth-like, life-supporting planets.

“It was such a pleasure to be able to go to the United Kingdom and brag about my students at Weber State,” Armstrong said. He has since heard that his international audience was “suitably impressed” by what they learned of WSU’s endeavors.

The Royal Astronomical Society, founded in London in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The society organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, awards medals and prizes in recognition of outstanding achievements, and supports education through grants and outreach activities. The RAS has more than 3,500 members (Fellows), a third of whom reside overseas. Visit for more information about the society.

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John Armstrong, assistant physics professor
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John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
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