Disruptive Astronomy: How Technology, Serendipity, and the Weirdness of Nature Have Changed What We Know About the Universe

Join us for a lunch and learn as Dan Jaffe, astronomy professor and vice president of research, reveals how today's astronomy thrives on innovation but faces many of the constraints and competitive challenges that businesses face. 


  • How post-WWII technologies opened new modes of discovery 
  • What technologies astronomers use and how they work
  • The industries “discovered” by disruptions in astronomy 
  • The constraints and competitive challenges that businesses and astronomers both face. What they can learn from each other.


"We had our Universe literally laid out in front of us in 1990 and here we are 25 years later and it’s a whole new ballgame and people have had to change what they’re doing, techniques they’re using, and develop new instrumentation because the world is not what we thought it was."  UT Astronomy Professor and VP of Research Dan Jaffe. 


Dan Jaffe is the Vice President for Research and Jane and Roland Blumberg Professor in the Department of Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Jaffe received his BA and Ph.D. from Harvard University and held positions as an Enrico Fermi Fellow at the University of Chicago and an Assistant Research Scientist at UC Berkeley before joining the UT faculty in 1986. Jaffe's research encompasses device development, instrumentation, and observations geared toward understanding how stars and planetary systems form and evolve.

His group constructs silicon diffractive optics using precision lithography and currently has devices on instruments for NASA's SOFIA airborne observatory and James Webb Space Telescope (the successor to Hubble), as well as several ground-based instruments. His team's IGRINS spectrograph operates at McDonald Observatory and the team is now designing an instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope. Prof. Jaffe's astronomical research employs high-resolution infrared spectroscopy to look at the properties of protostars and of the disks around them that are forming planets.

Prof. Jaffe has been awarded Harvard's Bart J. Bok prize, a Humboldt Fellowship, and a David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship. He was Chair of UT's Astronomy Department from 2011 to 2015.

Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 11:30am to 1:00pm

AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center (ATT), Room 202
1900 UNIVERSITY AVE , Austin, Texas 78705

Event Type

Business & Economy, Science & Tech, Entrepreneurship & Innovation


McCombs School of Business

Target Audience

Students, Staff, Faculty, Alumni, General Public




$25, includes lunch

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