Thursday, November 5, 2009

U of T lecture tonight!: "The Origin of the Universe: Inflation, the Big Bang, and Fundamental Physics"

From the mailing list... Jamil Shariff.

Just a reminder to all you astronomy enthusiasts!

The U of T Graduate Astronomy Students Association proudly presents the monthly Free Astronomy Public Tour at the U of T downtown (St. George) campus. November's tour is tomorrow! The evening will feature a public lecture followed by a public observing session using the telescopes at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. This month, Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Neil Barnaby of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics will present a fascinating talk entitled:

"The Origin of the Universe: Inflation, the Big Bang, and Fundamental Physics"

Time: 8:10 PM
Date: Thursday November 5, 2009
Room: MP 102
Building: McLennan Physical Laboratories (MP)
Address: 60 St. George Street, Toronto, ON

This talk is suitable for all ages.

Lecture Description:

We are now entering a "golden age" of modern cosmology. Thanks to a wealth of high precision data, we have obtained a surprisingly detailed picture of the history of our universe, from the early moments of the big bang through to the present epoch. I will take you on a tour of the early history of our universe, focusing on the big bang and the so-called inflationary phase. I will also discuss how observations of the large-scale structure of the universe might shed light on speculative theories of nature at microscopically tiny distance scales.

Speaker Biography:

Dr. Neil Barnaby was born in 1978 in Ottawa, did his undergrad at Carleton University in Ottawa and his PhD at McGill University in Montreal. He has been at CITA for two years now as a post-doc. He works on a fairly wide variety of topics in theoretical high energy physics, ranging from cosmology (inflation, big bang, reheating, etc.) to string theory and mathematical physics.

Observing Session:

After the lecture, graduate students Adam Atkinson, Richard Chou, Jeffrey Fung, and Emma Lloyd will lead us upstairs and will conduct the public viewing through our 8-inch refractor, 10-inch Meade, 16-inch Cassegrain and our balcony public tour telescopes. If the weather is clear, the Moon, Jupiter, and M31 (the Andromeda Galaxy) should be visible. If it is cloudy, a tour of the telescopes themselves will still be conducted, along with a virtual sky tour. We will also continue our practice of teaching attendees how to read and use astronomical sky charts.

I hope to see you all on Thursday November 5 at 8:10 PM for our public talk,"The Origin of the Universe: Inflation, the Big Bang, and Fundamental Physics."

More Information and Directions:

This Month's Tour:

The U of T Free Astronomy Public Tours are held on the first Thursday of every month (except January).

So, why do pirates wear eye patches?

It's probably not what you think..

From Wikipedia: Sailors (stereotyped by the eye-patch-wearing pirate) who often went above and below deck, might have used eye patches to have one eye adjusted for the top deck and the other eye already adjusted for the darkness when suddenly going below deck. The strong sunlight while above deck on an oceangoing vessel could require minutes of adjustment to the dim lighting below deck. With virtually no light sources below deck, sailors would have to rely heavily upon their eyes to adjust. In the critical moments of modifying the rigging, navigating, and especially during battle, those minutes were too precious. A simple switch of the patch from one eye to the other might have saved time when going between decks, pirates wear eyepatches.

Similarly, pilots at one time would also do the same, when flying at night over brightly lit cities, so that one eye could look out, and the other would be adjusted for the dim lighting of the cockpit to read unlit instruments and maps.

When flashlights with red bulbs, backlit instruments, and other modern instruments came along, that no longer was necessary, just as boats and ships evolving into being well lit made eye patches a thing of the past.