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Award-winning University of California-Berkeley astrophysicist Alex Filippenko will deliver the 42nd Oppenheimer Memorial Lecture 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Duane Smith Auditorium in Los Alamos.
The lecture, “Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe,” is free and open to the public.
Filippenko has made a career of studying supernovae and using these cosmic beacons to probe the vastness of space. Filippenko was a member of two independent teams that in 1998 reported, based on observations of supernovae that the universe was expanding at a runaway pace. The leaders of those teams received the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery.
Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for his research, Filippenko’s skills in teaching and conveying scientific concepts to non-scientists has been recognized with the Carl Sagan Prize, the Richtmyer Memorial Award and a Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation.
Filippenko will discuss how observations of supernovae have led scientists to conclude the universe contains a repulsive force, dubbed “dark energy,” that forces space to expand at an ever-increasing rate, pulling galaxies and other matter along with it. Einstein had once postulated such a mechanism but later rejected it and called it his “biggest blunder.”
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