Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 9, 2003

Hubble Telescope, Space Station Engineer to Speak at Whitworth on 'Life in Space'

A former Lockheed Martin Co. engineer recognized by NASA for her contributions to the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station will speak at Whitworth College about the scientific and theological implications of long-range space travel and life on other planets.

Leslie Wickman, currently director of the Center for Research in Science at Azusa Pacific University, will address "Life in Space: Earth's Design and the Problems of Interplanetary Travel" at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16, in the Eric Johnston Science Center Auditorium at Whitworth College. The lecture is free and open to the public.

"We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Wickman visit Whitworth," says Susan Mabry, associate professor of math and computer science at Whitworth. "An internationally respected research scientist and engineering consultant, Dr. Wickman will bring a fascinating breadth of expertise and experience to campus. She is also a model for young women in scientific disciplines."

For more than a decade, Wickman was an engineer for Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space in Sunnyvale, Calif., where she worked on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station Programs, receiving commendations from NASA for her contributions and being designated as Lockheed's Corporate Astronaut. For the last four years, she has worked as a research scientist with RAND in Santa Monica on the technical and political aspects of various national defense issues. She also currently serves as a consulting scientist on fighter pilot training, future space launch vehicles, and extreme environment physiology projects.

As director of the Center for Research in Science at Azusa Pacific University, Wickman's responsibilities include addressing the relationship between science and theology. She has lectured extensively around the world on satellite servicing, astronaut operations, mission planning, and space physiology issues. She is also a dedicated athlete who plays competitive beach volleyball and women's professional tackle football.

Wickman holds a master's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering and a doctoral degree in human factors and biomechanics, both from Stanford University. She also graduated magna cum laude from Willamette University with a bachelor's degree in political science.

Mabry, who managed a research department for the Northrop-Grumman Corporation's Advanced Technology and Development Systems Division before coming to Whitworth to help build a highly respected undergraduate computer science program, says Wickman will address unique, life-supporting characteristics and the problems of traveling long distances through space, even if humans are able to find another suitable haven for life. She also will discuss space physiology and related issues of science and faith.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Susan Mabry, associate professor of math and computer science, (509) 777-4686 or smabry@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, director of communications, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

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