Image of Michael Davis, the 2022-23 Claritas Lecture speaker.

2022–23 Visitor: Michael S. Davis

The James Webb Space Telescope: It Works; Perfectly!

Degenstein Theater
Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m.

The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) on Christmas morning 2021 culminated a 25-year effort to design, construct, test and launch a space telescope designed primarily to conduct infrared astronomy. As the largest optical telescope in space, the high resolution and sensitivity of JWST allow it to view objects too early, distant or faint for the Hubble Space Telescope. Referred to as the “First Light Machine”, JWST is designed to look across the farthest reaches of the cosmos to the beginning of time itself, to observe the first stars and galaxies that coalesced from the primordial gas of the Big Bang. Join NASA’s JWST Deputy Mission Systems Engineer, Michael Davis, as he presents an overview of the JWST Project as well as some of the latest images and science data from this revolutionary telescope that is already rewriting physics and astronomy textbooks.

About the Speaker

Michael S. Davis is the Deputy Mission Systems Engineer for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Project. He received a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy from Villanova University in 1982 and has worked on JWST for the past 19 years where he was responsible for requirements formulation and management, system design and integration and the verification and validation of the nearly 30,000 JWST requirements.

Learn more

About the Program

The Distinguished Visitor Program at Susquehanna University was endowed by George E. ’64 and Margaret Lauver ’66 Harris to support lectures, seminars or residencies by nationally recognized leaders in business, government or education on topics in the public interest. This series brings an accomplished scholar in the sciences to our campus annually for a public address. The public lecture is typically held in the fall of the academic year.

For more information about the lecture, contact Michele Hane at

Past Visitors

  • 2021-22: Sam Sternberg, “Rewriting the Code of Life with CRISPR” 
  • 2019-20: Jackie Faherty, “Our Cosmic Ballet”
  • 2018-19: Mary Lou Zeeman, dynamical systems and their application to mathematical biology
  • 2017-18: Richard Robinson, nanoparticles
  • 2016-17: Robert S. Pickart, “In Search of Sinking Water: Wintertime Fieldwork in the North Atlantic Ocean”
  • 2015-16: John Rogers, “Electronics for the Human Body”
  • 2014-15: Bonnie Bassler, Ph.D.-“Tiny Conspiracies: Cell-to-Cell Communication in Bacteria”
  • 2013-14: Sonia Kreidenweis, “Clearing the Air: 25 Years of Visibility Observations in US National Parks … And What They Tell Us About Our World”
  • 2012-13: Chris Stringer, “The Origin of Our Species”
  • 2011-12: Kerry Ressler, “Fear and its Inhibition: From Mice to Men”
  • 2010-11: Edward O. Wilson, “The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth”
  • 2009-10: Tyrone B. Hayes, “From Silent Spring to Silent Night: A Tale of Toads & Men”
  • 2008-09: Larry R. Squire-“Conscious and Unconscious Memory Systems of the Mammalian Brain”
  • 2007-08: Tim Flannery, “The Weather Makers”
  • 2006-07: Rita Colwell, “Climate, Infectious Disease and Human Health”
  • 2005-06: Jared Diamond, “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”