2008 Misel Family Public Lecture


“Finding the Big Bang"

Professor P. James E. Peebles

Princeton University

Tate Lab of Physics

Wednesday, September 23, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.

Abstract: Our Universe is not forever: it is expanding and cooling. Several thousands of millions of years ago the Universe was exceedingly hot and dense, it was very close to smooth, and it was rapidly expanding. Now the Universe is clumpy, with the mass concentrated in and around galaxies of stars, it is cool, except near stars, and it is slowly expanding, though the rate of expansion is speeding up again. I will describe the origins of this concept of cosmic evolution, the discovery of key pieces of evidence that show us that this is what  actually happened, and some of the research problems, such as the natures of dark matter and dark energy, which we have left for the next generation.