2/2/2012 - The Big Bang, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy
Speaker: Ganpathy Murthy
Date: February 2, 2012 at 6:00 pm
Location: Davis Marksbury Building
Our understanding of the universe has changed dramatically during the past century, and particularly during the past decade. In 1925 Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was expanding, that the further away a galaxy was, the faster it was moving away from us. Running the movie backwards, astronomers conjectured that 10-15 billion years ago the universe was infinitely dense and infinitely hot, and has been expanding ever since. This primal event is called the Big Bang. As if this were not radical enough, we have uncovered even stranger phenomena. It turns out that most of the matter in the universe is not the kind of matter we know which makes stars, planets, asteroids, and us, but is a distinct kind that we call Dark Matter. Furthermore, we have found that the universe is pervaded by a field (called Dark Energy) which is causing it to expand at an accelerating rate.
Additional panelists for the first talk include Randal Voss (Department of Biology), Karen Young, (Dunbar High School), John Anthony (Department of Chemistry), Susan Barron (Department of Psychology), and Gene Toth (Lafayette High School).