UPDATE July 29, 2013: Brian P. Schmidt’s talk is titled: “The First Stars in The Universe.”
Sunday, Aug. 25, 4–5:30 p.m.
Fine Arts Building, Main Stage Theatre
The universe was born 13.8 billion years ago devoid of the stars, galaxies and black holes we see today. Brian Schmidt will discuss how astronomers are in the process of uncovering the life-history of the cosmos, learning about how the first stars in the universe transformed cold lifeless space into the exciting world of the present.
Put this in your smartphone calendar right now, with a reminder set for the day before. We know how these long and gorgeous summer days have a way of making you forget your best intentions. And we know you won’t want to miss Brian P. Schmidt, a lively astrophysicist with great stories to tell. For example, how he proved the universe is expanding faster and faster. For that work, he shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics.
Schmidt is a distinguished professor, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and an astrophysicist at The Australian National University Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He’s known for his research in using supernovae as cosmological probes. He currently holds an Australia Research Council Federation Fellowship and was elected to the Royal Society in 2012. Schmidt shared both the 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Schmidt is currently leading the SkyMapper telescope Project and the associated Southern Sky Survey.
Schmidt was born on February 24, 1967, in Missoula, Montana, where his father, Dana C. Schmidt, was a fisheries biologist. When he was 13, his family relocated to Anchorage, Alaska.
Schmidt attended Bartlett High School in Anchorage and graduated in 1985. He has said that he wanted to be a meteorologist “since I was about 5-years-old” but “… I did some work at the USA National Weather Service up in Anchorage and didn’t enjoy it very much. It was less scientific, not as exciting as I thought it would be—there was a lot of routine. But I guess I was just a little naive about what being a meteorologist meant.” His decision to study astronomy, which he had seen as “a minor pastime,” was made just before he enrolled at university. He earned his BS (Physics) and BS (Astronomy) from the University of Arizona in 1989. He received his MA (Astronomy) in 1992 and then his doctorate (Astronomy) in 1993 from Harvard University. Schmidt’s thesis was supervised by Robert Kirshner and used Type II Supernovae to measure the Hubble Constant.
Come and enjoy this free public talk, and be mightily inspired!