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Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of Chicago
This lecture was held on Wednesday October 22, 2014 in 1800 Chemistry Building Auditorium on the University of Michigan Central Campus
The Universe: Continuing Surprises
Over the past few decades, cosmologists have for the first time identified the major constituents of the universe. Surprisingly, the universe hardly resembles what we thought only a few decades ago. The universe is filled with dark matter that is not visible and energy that permeates all of space, causing its expansion to speed up with time. New giant telescopes planned for the next decade are likely to reveal more surprises. In her lecture, Professor Freedman will describe these recent advances.
Biographical sketch for Professor Wendy Freedman
Dr. Wendy Freedman is one of seven University Professors at the University of Chicago appointed by the president of the university. For eleven years (2003-2014) she served as the Crawford H. Greenewalt Director of the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California. A native of Toronto, Canada, she received her doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Toronto in 1984. She received a Carnegie Fellowship at the Observatories in 1984, joined the permanent faculty in 1987, and was appointed Director in 2003. She currently also chairs the Board of Directors for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), a 25-m optical telescope scheduled for construction in Chile in 2020.
In 2003 Dr. Freedman was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and in 2007 to the American Philosophical Society. She received the 1994 Marc Aaronson Lectureship and prize; and in 2000, she was given the McGovern Award for her work on cosmology, and elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science. In 2002, she was awarded the American Philosophical Society’s Magellanic Prize. In 2009, she was one of three co-recipients of the Gruber Cosmology Prize. In 2012, she was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Her principle research interests are in observational cosmology. Dr. Freedman was a principle investigator for a team of thirty astronomers who carried out the Hubble Key Project to measure the current expansion rate of the Universe. Her current research interests are directed at measuring both the current and past expansion rate of the universe, and in characterizing the nature of dark energy, which is causing the universe to speed up its expansion. She is the Principal Investigator of a new large program to use the Spitzer satellite to measure the Hubble constant to an accuracy of 3%.