Visit another universe at campus planetarium

Margaret Thompson

Two young boys rest their heads in their mother’s lap. Gazing into the dark night sky, their eyes glisten with excitement. The moon speeds across the horizon as Dr. Brett Ellman narrates its path.

You can hear the buzz of energy and passion in his voice as he explains the ancient myths behind the constellations.

Ellman hosts most of the public shows at Kent State’s planetarium.

“I really enjoy seeing the people, adults and children get excited,” Ellman said. “I think it is just a blast.”

From grade school science projects to earning his doctorate in physics, Ellman has been drawn to physics his entire life.

“I feel just as attracted to it now as I did then,” he said.

An image of the Earth appears in the dark sky. Ellman explains the newest discoveries in astronomy.

After graduating with his doctorate in physics, Ellman worked on a post-doctorate studying dark matter.

Ellman has been teaching physics at Kent State for 13 years. He began hosting the planetarium shows after the previous host tired of it.

The first show Ellman hosted scared him. “It was intimidating,” he said. “Plus, I wasn’t sure I knew how to operate the whole gadget. It’s complicated. I was a little afraid I would lose everything.”

An elderly couple lean back into the reclining seats to gain a better view of the ceiling. Enveloped by the dark sky, the audience sits quietly in amazement. They hang on Ellman’s every word. Each flows naturally now.

“They like to look up at the stars and relax. And that’s what the shows are for. They are educational, but that is not their main purpose,” Ellman said. “Their main purpose is to develop appreciation.”

Contact features correspondent Margaret Thompson at [email protected].