Annual Dean's Lecture on Computational Science & Engineering | Taking the Universe’s Baby Picture

6 Apr
IACS Seminar Series
David Spergel, Charles Young Professor of Astronomy, Princeton University & Founding Director, Center for Computational Astrophysics, Flatiron Institute
Friday, April 6, 2018 -
12:30pm to 2:00pm
Harvard SEAS, Maxwell Dworkin G115, 33 Oxford Street, Cambridge MA 02138

Lunch will be served from 12:30-1pm, on a first-come, first served basis.  The talk will begin promptly at 1pm.


Images of  the cosmic microwave background, the leftover heat from the big bang, are the universe’s baby picture.  Embedded in this picture is information about the universe’s age, origin, composition and fate.  Our observations have revealed a remarkably simple, yet strange universe.  A simple model with only five basic numbers can describe the basic statistical properties of the universe which describes the positions and properties of billions of galaxies and millions of independent points on the sky.  While the model is simple, it implies that atoms make up only 5% of the universe and bulk of the universe is composed of mysterious dark matter and dark energy.  Dr. Spergel will review past measurements and look forward to future observations that could determine the properties of the dark energy and deepen our understanding of the universe’s beginnings and ultimate fate.

**This event is free and open to the public; no registration required.**

Speaker Bio: 

David Spergel is the Founding Director of the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute and the Charles Young Professor of Astronomy at Princeton University.  He and his colleagues built the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite.  WMAP helped determine the age, composition, and shape of the universe.  Its measurements of fluctuations in the microwave background established our current standard cosmological model.  Spergel is a MacArthur Fellow and was recently awarded the Breakthrough Prize as part of the WMAP team.  Spergel is currently co-chair of the science team for NASA’s WFIRST mission, a new mission that will aim to study the nature of dark energy and the properties of atmospheres of  extrasolar planets.  



Institute for Applied Computational Science (IACS)
Natasha Baker