Solar eclipse experts

On Aug. 21, parts of the United States will experience a total solar eclipse. People across the country will see the sun disappear behind the moon, turning daylight into darkness, causing temperatures to drop, and revealing massive streamers of light around the moon.

The last total solar eclipse viewed from the continental U.S. was in 1979. The next total solar eclipse will darken the nation’s skies in 2024.

FIU experts from the College of Arts, Sciences & Education are available to talk about the astronomical phenomenon.

For questions or assistance in contacting any of the following experts, please call the Office of Media Relations:

Chrystian Tejedor,, 305-209-0484
Evelyn Gonzalez,, 305-348-4493
JoAnn Adkins,, 305-348-6192
Jessica Drouet,, 305-348-6944


James Webb
Director, Stocker AstroScience Center
Professor of Astronomy, Department of Physics

James Webb is a professor of astronomy in the Department of Physics. He is also the director of the Stocker AstroScience Center, an on-campus observatory housing a rooftop observing pad for portable telescopes and a dome with an automated telescope. Webb’s research interests include the creation and evolution of the universe, as well as quasars, or supermassive black holes surrounded by an orbiting disk of gas that emit high levels luminosity, and blazars, or compact quasars that are among the most energetic phenomena in the universe. He teaches courses on astronomy, astrophysics, the creation of the universe, the solar system, life in the universe, and the physics of music. Webb is also a songwriter/musician and he has published a CD of astronomy songs. He frequently gives concerts at star parties, planetariums and in performing arts centers. Webb has a Ph.D. in astronomy. He has done extensive print and broadcast media interviews.

Caroline Simpson
Professor Astronomy and Physics, Department of Physics

Caroline Simpson is a professor of astronomy and physics. She can speak to topics related to astronomy, and has particular expertise in galaxy evolution. Her research looks at how small galaxies, the most numerous type in the universe, evolve, which provides information on how the universe itself evolves. In 2016, Simpson received the Richard H. Emmons Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. This is a national award for excellence in teaching introductory astronomy at the college level. She is also active in issues related to diversity and equity in science.

Fiorella Terenzi
Professor of astronomy and physics, Department of Physics

Fiorella Terenzi is a professor of astronomy and physics in the Department of Physics. Originally from Italy, Terenzi has a Ph.D. from the University of Milan. Terenzi’s research interest lies in acoustic astronomy, or how sound reflects the physical, chemical and dynamic properties of celestial objects. She is among the first to explore the sounds of space in an aesthetic context. Having studied opera and composition at the Milan Conservatory, Terenzi takes recordings of radio waves from galaxies and turns them into music. In 2014, she produced the soundtrack to Italian designer Ermenegildo Zegna’s fall-winter fashion show by blending sounds from space with music from Tchaikovsky. Terenzi’s work has been hailed in the scientific community, in the entertainment industry within the fashion world. She teaches courses in physics with calculus and the solar system. She has done extensive print and broadcast media, including CNN, The Dennis Miller Show, Glamour, The History Channel, NPR, People, Sci-Fi Channel, Time and The Wall Street Journal.

Walter Van Hamme
Professor of Physics, Department of Physics
Executive Director, School of Integrated Science and Humanity

Walter Van Hamme is a professor of physics and the executive director of the School of Integrated Science and Humanity. Van Hamme’s areas of research include interacting binary stars, binary star evolution, and the search for planets around stars other than the Sun. He is the co-developer of one of the most widely used and comprehensive computer programs to extract astrophysical information from eclipsing binary star observational data. He joined the Department of Physics in 1988 and served as chair from 2004 to 2011, managing the department’s rapid growth and advocating for a number of educational reform projects including studio-based introductory physics courses, programs for current and future physics high school teachers, and the establishment of a physics education research group.