One of the University of Adelaide's greatest graduates, NASA astronaut and aerospace engineer Dr Andy Thomas , will launch the University's inaugural Research Week  this Friday, 28 October.
Dr Thomas, who graduated from the University of Adelaide with First Class Honours in Mechanical Engineering in 1973 and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 1978, will be the guest speaker at the Bonython Hall launch Research Week, talking on "Human Space Flight - Today and Tomorrow'.
The University is holding Research Week as a celebration of the value and impact of University of Adelaide research in local, national and global communities.
"Research Week will showcase the breadth of research undertaken across the University and the tangible impact it has on the everyday lives of people around the world," said University Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha.
"Andy Thomas' achievements in space and on Earth as an aerospace engineer and scientist have had a profound impact on Australians. He is an inspiration for what can be achieved and the impact research can have on people's lives if the sights are set high enough."
This week, Dr Thomas will also be a special guest at the launch of MechExpo , the School of Mechanical Engineering's annual project exhibition for honours students on Wednesday 26 October at Adelaide Showgrounds.
He will join the Honourable Tom Kenyon, Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, industry representatives, sponsors and other invited guests, at the exhibition opening and special viewing ahead of the general public exhibition on Thursday 27 October.
MechExpo is the culmination of the final year's work for Honours students in the School of Mechanical Engineering. More than 60 teams of students, specialising in mechanical, mechatronic, aerospace, sports and sustainable energy engineering, exhibit their projects and discuss their work with hundreds of visiting school children, industry representatives, friends and family and the general public.
Among this year's projects are a four-metre autonomous sailing vessel, a magnetically levitating platform, a retrofitted van with electric drive, a cricket bowling machine and the "Death-defying Diwheel", based on a droid from Star Wars which has captured the imagination of media around the world.
Research Week  runs from 28 October - 4 November with 24 free seminars and workshops including: Targeting Melanoma, Meet the Researchers and Debate @ The Waite. For a full program and to register for events visit www.adelaide.edu.au/research-week/ 
MechExpo  is free and open to the public on Wednesday 26 October 6pm-9pm and Thursday 27 October 9am-4pm at the Goyder Pavilion, Adelaide Showgrounds.