San Francisco State University, Established 1899, 1600 Holloway Ave. SF, CA 94132

SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.

#11--September 2, 1998; For immediate release
Contact: Wallace Ravven
Phone: 415/338-1665

SFSU offers unique course under the heavens

Instructor known as the "Physics Chanteuse" teaches the techniques of mapping the night sky with light.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--September 2, 1998ó Bay Area computer artists, techno wizards, and students of all stripes will have a chance to gain hands-on experience this semester in both the mysteries and science of creating planetarium shows. One of the few university courses in the world offering hands-on training in planetarium production is San Francisco State Universityís Astronomy 341, running every Wednesday night this fall at SF Stateís Hagar Planetarium.

The Universityís domed planetarium theater integrates a star projector and a dozen slide projectors, along with projectors for video and special effects. Students in the course learn how to operate the planetarium and create public shows using computer-based multimedia production. They produce their own live shows, and collaborate on a major production. This year, the class will produce a show featuring the revolutionary discovery of planets outside our solar system, which has been led by San Francisco State astronomy professor Geoff Marcy.

Even more novel than the planetarium course, however, is the instructor, Lynda Williams. With an M.S. in physics and astronomy from SF State, Williams teaches two courses this semester. But she also possesses an alter-ego, the Physics Chanteuse, and in this guise, she performs for audiences, cabaret-style in slinky dresses or leotards, dancing and singing about the wonders of the universe. Her songs include "Solid State of Mind," Carbon is a Girlís Best Friend," Hi Tech Girl," and " Billion Bits of Particles." Her Chanteuse persona has recently attracted a Los Angeles Times profile and invitations to perform on national television.

Williams writes and performs songs to introduce people to the power and beauty of science. "Iím an entertainer first," she expalins. "And science is inherently entertaining. What could be more exciting than the beginning of the universe, what everything is made out of, where we came from, and where we are going?"

Williamsí planetarium class will present a free public show every Wednesday at 7 p.m. from September 9 to December 16. The Hagar Planetarium is located on the fourth floor of Thornton Hall, room 422, in the northeast corner of the SFSU campus, near 19th Avenue.

The planetarium web site is:

San Francisco State University is a highly diverse community of 27,000 students and 3,500 faculty and staff. It is one of the largest campuses of the nationally-recognized 23-campus California State University system. Founded in 1899, the University is approaching its 100th year of service to San Francisco, the Bay Area, California and beyond.

Editors: Lynda Williams can be reached at 415/ 338-2515; 415/ 576-0555;


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