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Astronaut to Speak at Hartnell College During College's Annual Physics Olympics

April 6th, 2004

NASA astronaut Daniel Bursch - a veteran of four space flights who has logged more than 227 days in space - will speak at Hartnell College on Thursday, April 22, at 11 a.m.

The illustrated talk - free and open to the public - will be held in the main theater of the Performing Arts Building. This marks Bursch's second appearance at Hartnell.

Bursch's presentation is part of Hartnell's annual Physics Olympics, a one-day competition for about 125 physics students from Hartnell and five local high schools.

A U.S. Navy captain, Bursch, 46, will discuss his experiences as an astronaut and the importance of undergraduate and graduate education.

A member of the astronaut program since 1991, he and fellow astronaut Carl Walz currently hold the U.S. flight endurance record of 196 days in space. They were abroad the International Space Station from December 2001 to June 2002, performing flight tests of the station's hardware and other experiments.

Bursch is the winner of several honors, including NASA Space Flight Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal.

He is currently on a two-year assignment at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey as an "astronaut-in-residence" in the Space Systems Academic Group. He teaches classes related to space, encouraging communication and cooperation between NASA and the Navy.

Early in his career, Bursch attended the U.S. Naval Academy with Joe Welch, a Naval Postgraduate School instructor and Hartnell computer science instructor, who invited Burch to speak at Hartnell.

Hartnell's Physics Olympics - held at Hartnell for 26 years - has been directed by Jesse Cude, physics instructor, since its inception. "The competition," says Cude, "gives students insight into the problems and thought-processes that take place in the design of original and practical apparatuses."

Some of the competitive events involve students building miniature bridges out of balsa wood, launching air-powered rockets to predetermined targets, and designing an "egg transport vehicle" to protect uncooked eggs that are dropped 40 feet. There is also an academic quiz.

For more information, call Jesse Cude at (831) 755-6884.