Renowned astronomer to talk about asteroid threats and strategies for Earth's defense

The North-West University's (NWU’s) Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences will host a guest lecture on 20 March 2024, featuring distinguished astronomer and extraordinary professor, Prof Don Kurtz.

Prof Kurtz, an A1-rated professor based in the United Kingdom, will delve into the intriguing topic of "Impact!" during his lecture.

Exploring the catastrophic events that unfolded 66 million years ago, he will discuss the demise of the Cretaceous period due to the impact of a 10 km diameter asteroid. The aftermath, including explosions, tsunamis, fires, and a global winter, resulted in a mass extinction that claimed 75% of all living species, including the iconic dinosaurs.

Addressing the contemporary relevance of asteroid impacts, Prof Kurtz will raise questions about the potential threats posed by asteroids crossing Earth's orbit and explore the possibility of preventing another extinction-level event through deflection efforts. Contemplating the question of whether we can stop the next extinction-level event, Prof Kurtz urges the public to attend the lecture to get the solution.

Following the lecture, attendees will have the unique opportunity to go stargazing at the NWU Observatory, providing an enriching experience for astronomy enthusiasts and curious minds alike.

This event promises to be an engaging exploration of celestial phenomena, offering a unique blend of scientific insight and public engagement.

Don’t miss this thought-provoking lecture:

DATE: Wednesday, 20 March from 18:00 to 19:00, and the stargazing from 19:00 to 20:00.

VENUE: L Building A4 (old Science Building), Room 118, NWU Mahikeng Campus. Please contact Lerato Molebatsi ( / 018 389 2606) for further information and to RSVP.

More about Prof Don Kurtz

Prof Kurtz joined the Mahikeng Campus as an extraordinary professor in 2021, and holds a prestigious A1-rating from the South African National Research Foundation.

Despite being practically retired, Prof Kurtz remains actively associated with NWU, making occasional visits to the campus. A past councillor and vice-president of the Royal Astronomical Society, Prof Kurtz has garnered international recognition for his contributions to astronomy and frequently delivers talks worldwide on various astronomical topics.


Prof Don Kurtz.

Submitted on Wed, 03/13/2024 - 08:59