The universe that we live in is full of imagination and theoretical understanding, according to Brian Schmidt, the 2011 co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, who will speak in the Main Auditorium at Drexel University March 1 at 3 p.m.
Schmidt, a Laureate Fellow at the Australian National University’s Mount Stromlo Observatory, jointly led a study with Adam Riess, astrophysicist at Johns Hopkins University, in 1998 for the High-z Supernova Search Team. This team first reported evidence that the universe’s expansion rate is now accelerating.
By monitoring the color shifts in the light from the supernovae from Earth, they discovered that these billion-year old novae were still accelerating. The joint evidence provided between the two studies led to the acceptance of the accelerating universe theory and initiated new research to understand the nature of the universe, such as the existence of dark matter.
The discovery of the accelerating universe was named “Breakthrough of the Year” by Science magazine in 1998, and Schmidt was jointly awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Reiss and Saul Perlmutter for their groundbreaking work.
Schmidt will speak at Drexel to discuss the fundamental data that he and his colleagues found through their research, as well as the expansion and acceleration of the universe itself.
According to Michael Vogeley, a professor in Drexel’s Department of Physics, having Schmidt at Drexel to inform students about the accelerating universe will be an opportunity for the students to learn a considerable amount through his work.
“Dr. Brian Schmidt led a team of 20 astronomers to use observations of distant exploding stars to trace the expansion of the universe back in time. They made the astonishing discovery that the universe is not simply expanding but is speeding up in its expansion,” Vogeley said. “This acceleration points to the presence of ‘dark energy’ that comprises 70 percent of the density of the universe.”
Vogeley, who attended graduate school with Schmidt at Harvard in 1987, continued, “ In his lecture, Dr. Schmidt will share the story of how these observations were made and explain what they mean for the past, present and future of the universe.”
Drexel freshman Alexis Logan-Brown, a psychology student, says she believes that understanding the nature of dark energy is the biggest challenge facing physicists today.
“The universe has been a mystery for many years, and no conclusive decision has been made for what really is out there. I am definitely looking forward to coming to the lecture and understanding it a little bit more,” she said.
Schmidt has published many articles and other works on the discovery of an accelerating universe” and frequently speaks about the subject at colleges and universities.