CYA Virtual Lecture Series
16 Dec 2020

CYA Virtual Lecture Series || December 16, 2020

 CYA is delighted to invite you to our next Virtual Lecture this Wednesday, 16 December 2020, at 12 p.m. (EST) / 7 p.m. (Athens), our last session of 2020! 

Our speaker, Dionysis P.

Simopoulos, an astrophysicist, Director Emeritus of the Eugenides Planetarium in Athens, and an active spokesman for science education in Greece, will lecture on “Discovering the Universe” and what we have learned in our quest to uncover the cosmos’s hidden secrets.

With the help of the various optical and radio telescopes on Earth’s surface and our orbiting observatories in space, we try to capture the messages that come from all the parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. At the same time, hundreds of spacecraft are investigating up close our solar system’s countless objects, while thousands of artificial satellites orbiting the Earth offer us a trove of new information about the workings of our own planet. Back on the Earth, large and powerful particle accelerators, such as CERN and Fermilab, can penetrate deep inside the atom to reveal secrets from when our Universe was first born. In more recent years, large-scale physics experiments and special laboratories, such as LIGO in the US and VIRGO in Italy, have opened another new window to the Universe by studying the gravitational waves emanating from the mergers of neutron stars and black holes.

Facilitating the discussion will be former CYA Professor Catherine Vanderpool, an archaeologist and emeritus member of the board of the Gennadius Library of the American School of Classical Studies, Athens, and a good friend both of CYA and Mr. Simopoulos.

To participate in this live discussion, please register on Zoom today.


Guest Speaker:

Dionysis P. Simopoulos


Director Emeritus of the Eugenides Planetarium, Athens, Greece

Born and raised in Patras, Dionysis P. Simopoulos studied communications and astronomy at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. His career began in the fall of 1967 where he served as Assistant Curator for Education and later as Planetarium Director of the Louisiana Arts and Science Center (USA). In 1973 he was invited to become the Planetarium Director of the Eugenides Foundation in Athens, Greece.

His combined talents of science knowledge and communication ability have allowed him to write and direct more than 500 half-hour network television science shows, 200 multi-media planetarium shows, while publishing hundreds of articles in Greek and in foreign magazines and newspapers. He has authored 31 popular astronomy books, and has given more than 600 lectures on science communication throughout Greece.

Simopoulos has served as President of the European Association for Astronomy Education (1994-2002), as a member of the Executive Council of the International Planetarium Society (1978-2008), and as Secretary General of the European and Mediterranean Planetarium Association (1976-2008). He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (U.K.) and the International Planetarium Society and a member of many other international scientific organizations.  In 1996 he was honored with the highest “IPS Service Award” of the International Planetarium Society for his contributions to International Astronomy Education, and in 2006 he was honored with the “Palmes Academiques” of the French Republic.

In 2012, the Union of Greek Physicists honored him as “the founder of the popularization of science in Greece,” and in 2015 he received the Academy of Athens Award “for his overall contribution to the popularization and dissemination of Astronomy and Space Science in Greece.” In 2018 he received the “Silver Phoenix” the highest honorary award of the Greek Scouts, for his “outstanding and distinguished services.”


Catherine Vanderpool

Archaeologist – Former CYA Professor

Retired President of The Gennadius Library

of the American School of Classical Studies, Athens, Greece

While a graduate student at Columbia University, Cathy Vanderpool (Catherine de Grazia Vanderpool) came to Greece as an Associate Member of the American School of Classical Studies in 1970. After completing her PhD in 1973, she settled permanently in Greece until 1986, raising a family, teaching for several years at College Year in Athens and at the Athens Center for Creative Arts; serving as Editor and Co-Publisher of the Athenian Magazine; writing, editing and producing special publications especially for the tourism industry in Greece.

After returning to the United States in 1986, she worked for the American School of Classical Studies in its U.S. office, where she served for many years as Executive Vice President and President of the Gennadius Library until her retirement.  She also served on the Board of Directors of the Council on American Overseas Research Centers in Washington, D.C., including seven years as Chair. Currently Cathy is as an emeritus member of the Gennadius Library Board.

Cathy has written and lectured on Greece and Greek history, art, and archaeology for scholarly and lay audiences alike. Her current research interests focus on Greek and Roman sculpture, and she is working on several publications in connection with American School excavations in Ancient Corinth (Greece). She and her family divide their time between Princeton, New Jersey, and Greece.