Future Talks

Future events

Professor David Spergel

Wednesday October 31, 2018

The New Vic Theater, 33 West Victoria Street, Santa Barbara
7:00 pm (Doors open at 6:30 pm)

David Spergel is the Charles Young Professor of Astronomy on the Class of 1897 Foundation at Princeton University and the director of the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute in New York. He serves as co-chair of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) science team. WFIRST will study the nature of dark energy, complete the demographic survey of extrasolar planets, characterize the atmospheres of nearby planets and survey the universe with more than 100 times the field of view of the Hubble Space Telescope. Professor Spergel is also the co-chair of the Global Coordination of Ground and Space Astrophysics working group of the International Astronomical Union.

Spergel is interested in using laboratory experiments and astronomical observations to probe the nature of dark matter and look for new physics. Recently, he has been active in the exploration of data from the Gaia satellite and observations made by Subaru's Hyper Suprime-Cam. Using microwave background observations from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope, he has measured the age, shape and composition of the universe. These observations have played a significant role in establishing the standard model of cosmology. Spergel is one of the leaders of the Simons Observatory, which will include a planned millimeter-wave telescope that will allow us to take the next step in studying the microwave sky and probing the history of the universe.

Professor Spergel is the recipient of many awards, including a MacArthur "Genius Grant" in 2001, the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics in 2015, and the Breakthrough Prize in 2018.

Professor Andrea Ghez

Wednesday November 7, 2018

The New Vic Theater, 33 West Victoria Street, Santa Barbara
7:00 pm (Doors open at 6:30 pm)

Andrea Ghez is a professor of astronomy at UCLA. From the highest and coldest mountaintop of Hawaii, home of the Keck Observatory telescopes, using bleeding-edge deep-space-scrying technology, Ghez handily confirmed 30 years of suspicions of what lies at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy -- a supermassive black hole, which sends its satellite stars spinning in orbits approaching the speed of light.

Ghez received a MacArthur "genius grant" in 2008 for her work in surmounting the limitations of earthbound telescopes. Early in her career, she developed a technique known as speckle imaging, which combined many short exposures from a telescope into one much-crisper image. Lately she's been using adaptive optics to further sharpen our view from here -- and compile evidence of young stars at the center of the universe.

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