News

The Universe from Beginning to End


24 April 2009

Astronomers believe our Universe began in a Big Bang, and is expanding around us. Professor Brian Schmidt, from the Australian National University's Mount Stromlo Observatory, will describe the life of the Universe that we live in and how astronomers have used observations to trace our Universe's history back more than 13 billion years at the free Pollock Memorial Lecture at the University of Sydney on 30 April 2009.

Professor Schmidt will show how astronomical data are the pieces for a puzzling picture, where 96% of the Cosmos is made up of two mysterious substances: Dark Matter and Dark Energy.

Hear how these two mysterious forms of matter are in a battle for domination of the Universe and about new experiments that are monitoring the struggle between Dark Energy and Dark Matter, trying to better understand these elusive pieces of our Universe and predict the ultimate fate of the Cosmos.

Professor Schmidt, one of the founding fathers of Dark Energy, will describe exciting new experiments, including those using the SkyMapper telescope at the Mount Stromlo Observatory near Canberra.

About the Speaker:

Professor Brian Schmidt is a Federation Fellow at The Australian National University's Mount Stromlo Observatory. Brian was raised in Montana and Alaska, USA, and received undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Arizona in 1989. Under the supervision of Robert Kirshner, he completed his Astronomy Master's degree (1992) and PhD (1993) from Harvard University. In 1994 he formed the High­Z SN Search team, a group of 20 astronomers on 5 continents who used distant exploding stars to trace the expansion of the Universe back in time.

This group's discovery of an accelerating Universe was named Science Magazine's Breakthrough of the Year for 1998. Brian Schmidt joined the staff of the Australian National University in 1995. His list of awards includes:- Australian Government's inaugural Malcolm McIntosh award for achievement in the Physical Sciences (2000)- The Australian Academy of Sciences Pawsey Medal (2001)- The Astronomical Society of India's Vainu Bappu Medal (2002)- Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship (2005)- Jointly awarded the Shaw Prize for Astronomy (2006)- and shared the 2007 Gruber Prize for Cosmology with his High-Z SN Search Team colleagues.

In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the United States National Academy, and Foreign Member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences.

Brian is continuing his work using exploding stars to study the Universe, and is leading Mt Stromlo's effort to build the SkyMapper telescope, a new facility that will provide a comprehensive digital map of the southern sky from ultraviolet through near infrared wavelengths.

Pollock Memorial Lecture:

The Pollock Memorial Lectureship has been awarded about every four years since 1949 and is sponsored by the University of Sydney and the Royal Society of NSW in memory of Professor JA Pollock, who was Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney from 1899 until 1922 and a member of the Royal Society for 35 years. The Pollock Memorial Lecture is presented jointly by the University of Sydney and the Royal Society of NSW.

Event details:

Date: 30th April 2009

Time: 6.30pm

Location: Eastern Avenue Auditorium, University of Sydney.

Cost: FREE

RSVP: (02) 9351 3383 or outreach@physics.usyd.edu.au


Contact: Lara Davis

Phone: 02 9351 3383

Email: 0e1916005408252178030716111d06327a31463631772023235a0923