Media Advisory: Legislature's Joint Resolution to Recognize University of Texas at Austin, A&M Astronomy Work

23 February 2009

Event: The 81st Legislature of the State of Texas will honor The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University with a joint resolution, recognizing their cutting-edge research and outreach efforts in astronomy in celebration of 2009 as the official International Year of Astronomy (IYA).


Representatives of both universities will be recognized on the floor of Texas House and Senate. From The University of Texas at Austin, these include Dr. Mary Ann Rankin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, and Dr. David L. Lambert, director of McDonald Observatory. Texas A&M University will be represented by Dr. H. Joseph Newton, dean of the College of Science, and Dr. Edward S. Fry, professor and head, Department of Physics. Mr. George Mitchell, Houston businessman and major contributor to both universities’ astronomy programs, will also be recognized.

When: Tuesday, Feb. 24, 10 a.m. to noon

Where: House of Representatives Chamber, Texas State Capitol

Background: This year marks the International Year of Astronomy, the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first astronomical use of the telescope. The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University are working together on several astronomical projects. These include a state-wide speakers series celebrating IYA in more than a dozen Texas cities, as well as research collaboration on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX). They are also both founding partners in the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), an international project to build one of the world’s largest new telescopes in the Andes mountains of Chile.

Additional information and images/b-roll: For the text House Concurrent Resolution 55, as well as more information on the speakers series,  HETDEX, GMT, and high-resolution images, please visit our online press kit:

B-roll is available by request. Stand-up interviews at the Capitol with representatives from both universities may be arranged ahead of time or on-site Feb. 24.

Contacts: Rebecca Johnson, University of Texas at Austin Astronomy Program, 512-475-6763, or Shana Hutchins, Texas A&M University, College of Science, 979-862-1237,