Wednesday, November 16, 2011
340 West Hall
Speaker: Lydia Bieri (U-M)The universe is expanding at an accelerated rate. These findings of two research teams presented in 1998 revolutionized the cosmological picture, and the work was recognized with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. But who discovered the expanding universe? In this talk, I will take you on a journey from the beginnings of modern cosmology with Einstein in 1917, through Lemaître's discovery of the expanding universe in 1927 and his suggestion of a Big Bang origin, to Hubble's contribution of 1929 and the subsequent years when Hubble and Humason provided the essential observations for further developing modern cosmology. Then we will see what answers today's cosmology gives to age-old questions. Today, the cosmological term, introduced by Einstein into the original equations and then abandoned, is back in the main model to describe the accelerated expansion of the universe.