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Talk by Nobel Laureate Prof. Brian Schmidt: The Accelerating Universe

June 2012

Brian Schmidt
Professor Brian Schmidt (ANU)
Photo: Belinda Pratten

Australia's 2011 Nobel Laureate, Professor Brian Schmidt, will describe the discovery that won him the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Time and date: 7 pm, Wednesday 18 July 2012

Place: Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Cost: Closed

The talk will be suitable for children aged 12+, and will run for about an hour.

About the talk

In 1998 two teams of astronomers were tracing how the universe had expanded during its history. They expected to find that the expansion was slowing down. But instead, they found it was speeding up. This shocking discovery overturned astronomers' ideas about the history and fate of the universe.

The expansion must be caused by something. Astronomers have called it Dark Energy, and it seems to make up more than 70% of the cosmos. But what is it, really?

Professor Brian Schmidt (Australian National University), who led one of the astronomy teams, will describe this groundbreaking discovery and explain how astronomers track the Universe's history back more than 13 billion years?and what they think its future will be.

This talk is the annual Allison-Levick memorial lecture, presented by the Australian Astronomical Observatory.

About Professor Brian Schmidt

Brian Schmidt is a Laureate Fellow at The Australian National University's Mount Stromlo Observatory near Canberra in eastern Australia.

Brian was raised in Montana and Alaska, USA, and received undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Arizona in 1989. Under the supervision of Robert Kirshner, he completed his Astronomy Master's degree (1992) and PhD (1993) from Harvard University. In 1994 he and Nick Suntzeff formed the High­Z SN Search team, a group of 20 astronomers on 5 continents who used distant exploding stars to trace the expansion of the Universe back in time. This group's discovery of an accelerating Universe was named Breakthrough of the Year for 1998 by the journal Science.

Brian Schmidt joined the staff of the Australian National University in 1995. He has been awarded:

In 2008 Brian was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the United States National Academy, and Foreign Member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences.

Brian is continuing his work using exploding stars to study the Universe, and is leading Mt Stromlo?s effort to build the SkyMapper telescope, a new facility that will provide a comprehensive digital map of the southern sky from ultraviolet through near infrared wavelengths.

More information

Media assistance: Helen Sim
T: +61 2 9372 4251
M: +61 419 635 905
hsim@aao.gov.au