Speaker: Dr. Eliot Quataert
Professor of Astronomy and Physics
Topic: The Modern Origins Story:
From the Big Bang to Habitable Planets
TIME: 8:00pm February 7th, 2014
WHERE: The CSM Planetarium Bldg 36, Parking Lot 5
. Free and open to the public
In this talk Dr. Quataert will provide an overview of the modern understanding of origins in astrophysics, from the big bang to the discovery of planets around other stars. The story begins in the infant universe, which we now know was remarkably smooth compared to what we see around us today, with only tiny differences in its properties from one part to another. By contrast, in the present universe there are enormous differences in the properties of matter from one part to another: some regions host planets, stars, and galaxies (and even humans!) while others do not. Quataert will describe how the universe evolved from its smooth beginnings to its current state, emphasizing how gravity reigns supreme and builds up the planets, stars, and galaxies required for biological evolution to proceed. In addition to their scientific importance, these ideas also have far-reaching philosophical and religious implications.