[ASC-media] Top US cosmologist to shed light on "dark energy": November talks
Helen.Sim at csiro.au
Mon Nov 16 06:32:13 CET 2009
Media contact for images and interviews: Sue Nelson, Quick Thinking
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Top US cosmologist to shed light on "dark energy"
Prize-winning Harvard astronomy professor Robert P Kirshner is
touring Australia this month to give a series of public talks for the
International Year of Astronomy.
Professor Kirshner is an expert on exploding stars — supernovae — and
what they can tell us about the most mysterious component of the
universe, ‘dark energy’.
He was a member of one of the teams that observed exploding stars
halfway across the universe and made a stunning discovery: that the
expansion of the universe is speeding up.
The finding was named the top science breakthrough of 1998 by Science
magazine and was a huge turning-point in our understanding of the
‘Dark energy’ is the name astronomers have given to whatever is
making the acceleration speed up — but no-one knows what it actually is.
Astronomers are trying a couple of ways to find out, however.
In his public lectures Professor Kirshner will explain an
astronomers’ view of the universe, drawing on his own first-hand
account of the discovery of the accelerating universe as a member of
the High-Z Supernova Search Team.
And he will describe how astronomers are attempting to get a handle
on the nature of dark energy — which, whatever it is, will lead to a
new understanding of physics.
An author of over 250 scientific publications, Robert Kirshner has
also written for National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, Natural
History, and Scientific American magazines and is a frequent public
speaker on science. His award-winning popular-level book The
Extravagant Universe: Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the
Accelerating Cosmos is now in paperback and has been translated into
Professor Kirshner’s tour of Australia is funded by a Selby
Fellowship administered by the Australian Academy of Science.
Tour dates (all talks are free)
Canberra, Monday 16 November, 6pm: Australian Institute of Physics’
IYA public lecture series, Dunbar Physics Lecture Theatre, ANU
Melbourne, Wednesday 18 November, 8pm: Elisabeth Murdoch Theatre,
Adelaide, Thursday 19 November, 6.30-7.30pm: Union Hall, Adelaide
Perth, Friday 20 November, 6.30pm for 7.00pm: Scitech, Perth.
Sydney, Sunday 22 November, 2-3pm: Talk at Powerhouse Museum in
conjunction with From the Earth to the Universe Exhibition, Coles
Robert P. Kirshner is Clowes Professor of Science at Harvard
University. At Harvard, Kirshner teaches a large undergraduate course
for students who are not concentrating in the sciences called The
Energetic Universe. Kirshner is a member of the American Academy of
Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American
Philosophical Society. He was President of the American Astronomical
Society from 2004 to 2006. Kirshner received the Caltech
Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004. In 2007, Kirshner and his
colleagues of the High-Z Supernova Team (led by Professor Brian
Schmidt of the ANU and including many of Kirshner's former students
and postdocs) shared in the Gruber Prize in Cosmology.
The International Year of Astronomy 2009
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is coordinated globally by
the International Astronomical Union and endorsed by the United
Nations. IYA activities in Australia are funded with assistance from
the Science Connections Program within the Department of Innovation,
Industry, Science and Research. www.astronomy2009.org.au
Public Relations and Media Liaison
CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility (email: Helen.Sim at csiro.au)
Anglo-Australian Observatory (email: hsim at aao.gov.au)
Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in Australia for the 2009
International Year of Astronomy
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