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SPECIAL PUBLIC LECTURE<br>Cooking up Cosmology with the Dark Energy Detectives

Thursday, May 14, 2015
12:00 AM
170 Dennison

Join us for an evening of wonder and laughter.  Learn step by step recipes - involving cheap and easy-to-find ingredients - for cosmos concoctions that will impress your friends, neighbors, and dinner party guests. Discover that the best physicists in the world, including many right here in your home town, have absolutely no clue as to why the Universe started to rip itself apart about a billion years ago.  Hear how the 300-strong international Dark Energy Survey collaboration (meeting this week in Ann Arbor) is using sensitive observations of the night sky, and several tens of millions of your tax dollars, to figure out what the heck is going on with our Universe.  Be surprised by the quantities of peculiarly flavored Chilean cookies and other specialties consumed in the process. And by the end of the night, you might get the notion that the Universe has been playing tricks on us, and that dark energy could be the ultimate case of the Emperor's New Clothes….

Dr. Kathy Romer (astronomy's answer to Nigella Lawson) got her Ph.D. in Edinburgh in 1995. She spent 9 years in the USA at Northwestern and Carnegie Mellon Universities before returning to the UK to join the University of Sussex Astronomy Centre. She works in the field of Observational Cosmology, with a particular specialism in the area of X-ray clusters of galaxies, and is a long-standing member of the Dark Energy Survey collaboration. Kathy is also an award winning teacher who is passionate about the public understanding of science.

Dr. Brian Nord (Guy Fieri-wanna be and afrophysicist) hails from Wisconsin and Florida. He learned physics at Johns Hopkins and Fermilab in the early 2000’s before earning his Ph.D. right here in Ann Arbor in 2010 by simulating large parts of the Universe. Now, he works at Fermilab on real data, specializing in strong gravitational lensing, spectroscopy and developing tools to plan future surveys. He also tries to time-lapse the stars from the Chilean Andes, so we can have a better look at our place in space-time. You’ll often find him at the local pub, poring over some code, reviewing a recent paper, or reading a comic book.

Dr.-minus-epsilon Rachel Wolf (aka The Barefoot Cosmologist) is from sunny Southern California. She received her bachelor's degree in Astrophysics from UCLA in 2011 and is currently in the fourth year of her Ph.D. work at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her primary research interest is observational cosmology, particularly studying Type Ia supernovae and their host galaxies. Rachel is also very passionate about science outreach; she's worked at the Griffith Observatory and Discovery Channel, and is involved in various other projects that inspire broad interest in science.

Sponsored by the U-M Department of Physics 
Department of Energy Office of Science

Dr. Kathy Romer (University of Sussex), Dr. Brian Nord (Fermilab), and Ms. Rachel Wolf (Univ. of Penn.)