Department of Physics

Department News

Lecture Series on Nobel Prizes

Nov 17, 2011

WIU Physics Department
Lecture Series on Nobel Prizes

Speaker: Dr. Esteban Araya
Date: December 2, 2011 (Friday)
Time: 3:30 PM
Room: 205 Currens Hall

Discovery of the Accelerating Expansion of the Universe through Observations of Distant Supernovae

In 1998, the scientific community was shocked by the discovery that the Universe is not only expanding, but expanding at an accelerated rate. The consequence of this discovery became clear immediately: at the largest scales, the Universe is dominated by a type of anti-gravity, which was dubbed "dark energy". Surprisingly, the "biggest blunder" of Albert Einstein (the introduction of a cosmological constant in his description of gravity), precisely accounts for the phenomenon. The discovery of the accelerated expansion of the Universe was achieved by observations of distant supernovae conducted by two groups led by Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt, and Adam G. Riess; for which they received the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. In this talk, I will review the observations that led to this fundamental discovery, and the implications of dark energy on the fate of our Universe.

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