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Physics & Astronomy Public Talk
October 24, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Speaker: Nicholas Suntzeff , Texas A&M University
Title: The Darkening Universe
Abstract: Our Universe is both simple to describe yet makes little sense. We can describe the evolution of the Universe from before the Big Bang, to today, and into the future using only six numbers, yet these numbers contain profound mysteries. If you add up all the mass in the stars, planets, and galaxies, you get less than 4% of what we infer from looking at the sky with our telescopes. What is out there? Why is everything missing? Perhaps the biggest mystery is dark energy, an unexplained pressure that has overwhelmed the expansion of our Universe and comprises 70% of all its mass-energy. As one of the astronomers who discovered dark energy in 1998, I will take you on trip through Universe, from its birth until today, and to its likely future and strange death.
Nicholas B Suntzeff
University Distinguished Professor
Mitchell/Heep/Munnerlyn Professor of Observational Astronomy
Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy
Texas A&M University
Prof. Nicholas Suntzeff is an observational astronomer, working the fields of cosmology, supernovae, galaxy evolution and large-scale structure, stellar populations, astronomical site surveys, and instrumentation. Suntzeff studied mathematics at Stanford University (B.S. with distinction 1974) and astronomy and astrophysics at Lick Observatory, UC Santa Cruz (Ph.D. 1980). He has worked as an astronomer at the University of Washington, the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, and the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory/Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in La Serena, Chile where he was the Associate Director for Science for NOAO. In 1994 with Dr. Brian Schmidt, he co-founded the High-Z Supernova Team which in 1998 discovered acceleration and the presence of Dark Energy in the Universe. He was also a co-founder of the Calan/Tololo Supernova Survey which established Type Ia supernovae as the most precise markers for measuring cosmological distances.
Prof. Nicholas Suntzeff is the winner of the following awards:
- Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (Breakthrough Prize Foundation, 2015)
- Jefferson Senior Science Fellowship (National Academy of Sciences, 2011)
- Gruber Prize in Cosmology (Gruber Foundation, 2007)
- Breakthrough of the Year (Science Magazine, 1998)
- Robert J. Trumpler Award (Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 1983)