In this special Black History Month Colloquium, Dr. Jackson will chronicle his journey in science, from his early experiences at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS, now NIST) probing the reactions of small hydrocarbon free radicals, to his current research at the University of California, Davis, studying the chemistry of comets, the interstellar medium, and planetary atmospheres. Dr. Jackson will detail his mostrecent findings, based on his observations of the Comet Temple using the Keck telescope and laboratory studies of the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) photodissociation of N2
, CO, and CO2
in a molecular beam. Thesemolecules are important to understanding the chemistry occurring in extra-terrestrial atmospheres. They are examined utilizing a unique apparatus that creates two tunable VUV lasers using resonance-enhanced fourwave-mixing in pulsed molecular beams, producing high intensity tunable VUV radiation, with subsequent analysis by slice imaging time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Dr. Jackson has had a diverse and storied career,working in industry, government laboratories, and academia, and has received numerous awards for his technical contributions and his extraordinary leadership in mentoring the next generation of scientists.