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Silicon Valley Monthly Lunch: Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe with Alex Filippenko (PhD '84)
20.00 Pay at the door

About the Event

We expected the attractive force of gravity to slow down the rate at which the Universe is expanding. But observations of very distant exploding stars (supernovae) show that the expansion rate is actually speeding up, an amazing discovery that was honored with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics to the teams’ leaders and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics to all team members. Over the largest distances, the Universe seems to be dominated by a mysterious, repulsive “dark energy” that stretches space itself faster and faster. The physical origin and nature of dark energy, which makes up about 70% of the contents of the Universe, may be the most important unsolved problem in all of physics, providing clues to a unified quantum theory of gravity. But our most recent measurements yield an additional surprise: the current rate of expansion is even faster than expected, perhaps showing that dark energy is actually growing stronger with time or revealing the presence of a new type of relativistic particle.


Additional Details

  • Please RSVP by 5 pm on January 16th
  • Those who have not registered will have to wait at the door as registered alumni are seated first
  • Pay at the door
  • Registrants must pay whether they show up or not as we are charged based on the number of RSVPs we receive. 

About the Speaker

Alex is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences, and Professor of Astronomy, at UC Berkeley. An elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, he is one of the world's most highly cited astronomers. Alex is the recipient of numerous prizes for his scientific research, and he was the only person to have been a member of both teams that revealed the Nobel-worthy accelerating expansion of the Universe. Winner of the most prestigious teaching awards at UC Berkeley and voted the “Best Professor” on campus a record 9 times, Alex was named the U.S. National Professor of the Year in 2006. He has produced 5 astronomy video courses with The Great Courses, coauthored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appeared in more than 100 TV documentaries. He has given about 1000 public presentations, and was awarded the 2004 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. He is addicted to observing total solar eclipses throughout the globe (16 so far, all successfully). In 2017, Alex was selected for the Caltech Distinguished Alumnus Award.


Questions? Contact: Peter Tong: peter@ipventure.com

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