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Ta-You Wu Lecture

The University of Michigan's Department of Physics hosts the annual Ta-You Wu Lecture, which is one of the most prestigious lecture events in our Department. The Lectureship was endowed in 1991 through generous gifts from the University of Michigan Alumni Association in Taiwan. It is named in honor of Michigan Physics alumnus and honorary Doctor of Science, Ta-You Wu, one of the central figures of the 20th century in the Chinese and Taiwanese physics communities.

Professor Eiichiro Komatsu



2022 Ta-You Wu Lecture
in Physics

Eiichiro Komatsu, Director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics

Wednesday, October 19, 2022
4:00-5:00 PM
Location: Rackham Amphitheatre
University of Michigan Ann Arbor Campus
Seating Begins at 3:30 PM!

This event will also be live-streamed. The lecture will be available at 4:00 pm on YouTube

Finding Cosmic Inflation
The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) gives a photographic image of the Universe when it was still an “infant,” and its detailed measurements have given us a wealth of information, such as the composition and history of the Universe. The CMB research told us a remarkable story: the structure we see in our Universe, such as galaxies, stars, planets, and eventually ourselves, originated from tiny quantum fluctuations in the period of early Universe called “cosmic inflation.” But is this picture true? In this lecture, I will review the physics of CMB and key results from recent experiments and discuss future prospects for the quest to find out about our origins.

Biographical Sketch for Professor Eiichiro Komatsu
Professor Eiichiro Komatsu uses theoretical physics and observational data to study the origin, evolution, and constituents of our Universe. Since 2012, he has been Director of the Department of Physical Cosmology at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany. Prior to this, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University and a professor in the Department of Astronomy and Director of Texas Cosmology Center at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. from Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan) in 2001.

He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He is the recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the Nishinomiya-Yukawa Memorial Prize, the Gruber Cosmology Prize, the Lancelot M. Berkeley Prize of the American Astronomical Society, the Chushiro Hayashi Prize of the Astronomical Society of Japan, the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, and the Inoue Prize for Science.

His scientific achievements include the most stringent test of the physics of the very early Universe known as “cosmic inflation”; innovative explorations of dark matter, dark energy and neutrinos in cosmology; and the astrophysics of galaxy clusters.

Location: Rackham Amphitheatre
University of Michigan Ann Arbor Campus
915 E. Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

The Rackham Amphitheatre is located on the fourth floor of the Rackham Building. Doors to the fourth floor Rackham Amphitheatre will open at 3:30 pm for seating. Please come early as there will be no admittance after the lecture has started!

City Parking: Maynard Street Parking Structure
324 Maynard St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Masking is optional but encouraged.

Questions? Contact Carol Rabuck,


Previous Lectures in This Series

View an assortment of past Ta-You Wu lectures on YouTube.

  • 2022 Eiichiro Komatsu: Finding Cosmic Inflation
  • 2021 Nobel laureate Klaus von Klitzing: A Nocturnal Discovery that Triggered a Revolution in International Metrology
  • 2020 No lecture this year due to the Covid pandemic
  • 2019 Nobel laureate Donna Strickland: Generating High-Intensity, Ultrashort Optical Pulses
  • 2018 Nobel laureate F. Duncan HaldaneTopological Quantum Matter, Entanglement, and a "Second Quantum Revolution"
  • 2017 Nobel laureate Kip S. Thorne: Exploring the Universe with Gravitational Waves: From the Big Bang to Black Holes 
  • 2016 David Spergel: Our Simple but Strange Universe
  • 2015 Dr. Eric BetzigImaging Life at High Spatiotemporal Resolution
  • 2014 Wendy Freedman: The Universe: Continuing Surprises
  • 2014 Dennis Overbye: Confessions of a Dinosaur in the Age of New Media
  • 2013 Nobel laureate David WinelandSuperposition, Entanglement, and Raising Schrödinger's Cat
  • 2012 No lecture this year
  • 2011 Gérard Mourou, Former Director of the Laboratoire d’ Optique Appliquée at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Technique Avancée & Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique (France): Laser-Based High Energy Physics
  • 2010 Nobel laureate Samuel C. C. Ting: An Experiment to Explore the Mysteries of Space: The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the International Space Station
  • 2009 Helen Quinn: Wandering Planets, Falling Apples, Curving Spaces, Whirling Stars: How Unraveling the Mysteries of Gravity Has Taught Us About the Universe.
  • 2008 Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek: The Universe is a Strange Place
  • 2007 100th Birthday Celebration of the late Ta-You Wu: Distinguished Lecturer, Frank H. ShuThe Formation of Stars and Planetary Systems
  • 2006 Nobel laureate Eric A. CornellIs Warm Glass More Sticky Than Cold Glass? Temperature and Casimir Force
  • 2005 Nobel laureate Anthony J. LeggettDoes the Everyday World Really Obey Quantum Mechanics?
  • 2004 Nobel laureate David J. Gross: Asymptotic Freedom and the Emergence of QCD (Or How I Won the Nobel Prize)
  • 2003 Sir Martin Rees: Where is Cosmology Going?
  • 2002 David Wilkinson (1935-2002): The Cosmic Microwave Backround Radiation
  • 2001 Freeman Dyson: Is Life Analog or Digital?
  • 2000 Nobel laureate Horst L. Stormer: Fractional Electronic Charges and other Tales from Flatland
  • 1999 Nobel laureate Steven Chu: Seeing and Holding onto Atoms and Biological Molecules
  • 1998 Benoit B. Mandelbrot (1924-2010): Fractals and Scale-Invariant Roughness in
    the Sciences
  • 1997 Paul C. W. Chu: The Path of Zero Resistance
  • 1996 Nobel laureate Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (1932-2007): Principles of Adhesion
  • 1995 Nobel laureate T. D. Lee: Symmetry and Asymmetry
  • 1994 Nobel laureate Joseph Taylor: Binary Pulsars and Relativistic Gravity
  • 1993 Abraham Pais (1918-2000): George Uhlenbeck Remembered
  • 1992 Nobel laureate C. N. Yang: Considerations on Carbon 60