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

April 17th, 2003

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, May 1, at 11 a.m.

The talk - free and open to the public - will be held in the main theatre of the Performing Arts Building.

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, 45, will discuss his experiences as an astronaut. The presentation will include videotapes

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 the space. They were abroad the International Space Station during 2001-02, performing flight tests of the station hardware and other experiments.

Bursch is the winner of several honors, including NASA Space Flight Medals, 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 instructor in the Space Systems Academic Group.

Early in his career, Bursch attended flight school at the U.S. Naval Academy with Joe Welch, Hartnell computer science instructor who invited Burch to campus.

Hartnell's Physics Olympics - held at Hartnell for the last 25 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, deflecting a laser beam through a series of rings to a target, and designing an "egg transport vehicle" to protect uncooked eggs that are dropped 40 feet. There is also an academic quiz.