Mapping the Universe in Space and Time
Using our most advanced techniques and instruments we sift through light coming to us from all parts of the universe. We separate and study the cosmic microwave background (CMB) - a relic of the very early universe - to understand the events surrounding the birth and subsequent development of the Universe. A precision inspection and investigation of the CMB along with other observations handled with careful analysis, discussion, and computer modeling have allowed us to determine what happened over billions of years with amazing certainty and accuracy. Some of the findings are surprising. A continuing mapping of the large scale structure allows us to check this in detail and gives us the concepts for even more ways to map the history of the Universe. While things are so far consistent, there remain even more mysteries to be solved. In spite of that we can tell the tale of the creation and history of the Universe and show key supporting evidence, some of it from very early times including using the cosmic background light to provide a direct image of the embryo universe. This talk will be a review of the current state of cosmological observations based on observations and the challenging issues still to be confronted.
About the speaker
Prof. George Smoot was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006, jointly with Prof John Mather, for their work that led to the “discovery of the black body form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation”. This work helped further the Inflationary Universe and the Big Bang theory of the universe.
Prof. Smoot received his Bachelor degrees in Mathematics and Physics and his PhD in Physics in 1970 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been at the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 1970. He is also Chair of the Endowment Fund "Physics of the Universe" of Paris Center for Cosmological Physics.
Prof. Smoot was elected as a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He has been honored by several universities worldwide with doctorates or professorships. He was also the recipient of the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (1991), Lawrence Award from the US Department of Energy (1995), Einstein Medal from Albert Einstein Society (2003), Daniel Chalonge Medal from the International School of Astrophysics (2006) and Gruber Prize in Cosmology (2006).
Prof. Smoot is an author of more than 200 science papers and is also co-author (with Keay Davidson) of the popularized scientific book Wrinkles in Time (Harper, 1994) that elucidates cosmology and the discovery of NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer. A great teacher and a keen advocate of popular science, Prof. Smoot received the Oersted Medal in 2009 for his notable contributions to the teaching of physics.