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UW-Green Bay Physics professor to headline next ‘After Thoughts’ event March 5

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Prof. Heidi Fencl

Prof. Heidi Fencl

UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Heidi Fencl will offer audience members a fascinating look into the mysterious world of dark energy during the University’s next After Thoughts event, beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 5 in the Grand Foyer at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.

In an address titled “The Universe Falls Up?! Dark Energy and the Accelerating Expansion of Everything,” Fencl, associate professor of Physics and Women’s and Gender Studies, will explore one of the biggest news stories in science during the last few years — so big, in fact, that it led to the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics.

“Dark energy, an as-of-yet unknown source of energy, seems to be accelerating the expansion of the universe,” Fencl said. “In this talk, I will highlight the history that leads us to understand such an energy exists, and what it means for our understanding of the universe.”

Fencl, a UW-Green Bay faculty member since 2001, served as director of the UW System Women and Science Program for five years before coming to the University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Physics from Nebraska Wesleyan University and her master’s degree in Physics from the University of Nebraska. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from The Ohio State University, where she worked on gamma ray bursters, which have been called “the greatest mystery of modern astronomy.” Fencl’s research focus has largely been on Physics education, and she has explored the self-efficacy (especially of women) in Physics, using a variety of approaches to emphasize critical thinking in the field.

Designed to connect women in the community with UW-Green Bay, After Thoughts gatherings showcase faculty, staff and guests, and convene women after their workdays for learning, enrichment and fun. The sessions are so named because they provide “After Thoughts” for participants to take with them when they leave. UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Rebecca Meacham kicked off the 2012-13 After Thoughts season Oct. 1, with her talk, “Fiction’s Burning Questions: Novelists, History and the Creative Spark.” Nov. 13, Jeanne Stangel, UW-Green Bay’s Director of Development and the former Associate Director of UW-Green Bay Athletics, engaged an After Thoughts audience with her address, “The Green Bay Way: The Impact of National Recognition in Collegiate Sports at UW-Green Bay.” The final After Thoughts presentation of 2012-13, featuring Denise Bartell, associate professor of Human Development and Psychology, is slated for Tuesday, April 9.

Each After Thoughts session takes place from 5-7 p.m. in the Grand Foyer of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at UW-Green Bay, 2420 Nicolet Drive. The events begin with time to network, mingle and enjoy hors d’oeuvres before the featured guest speaker begins. Seating is limited, so advanced registration is recommended. The cost of each program is $13, and attendees are invited to register for each event individually or the two remaining programs at once. To reserve your spot, send a check (payable to UW-Green Bay Foundation) to: UW-Green Bay Foundation, CL 805, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, WI 54311; or register online at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/afterthoughts/. Walk-up registration also is an option. Call (920) 465-2074 for more information. You can find After Thoughts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/afterthoughts.uwgb.

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