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Thu, 1 Jan 2015

Nobel prize winner to speak at JCU

More than 13 billion years of the universe’s history, and what may be in store for it in future will be examined in a public lecture being held at JCU next week.

Nobel prize winner to speak at JCU

First published 15 February, 2013

More than 13 billion years of the universe’s history, and what may be in store for it in future will be examined in a public lecture being held at James Cook University next week.

Professor Brian Schmidt, an astrophysicist and 2011 Nobel Laureate for Physics will present The Accelerating Universe on Tuesday at JCU’s Townsville campus.

Professor Schmidt said the lecture would focus on the ever-expanding universe and the consequences.

“In 1998, two teams traced the expansion of the universe over billions of years and discovered that it was accelerating, “ he said.

“This was a startling discovery that suggests that more than 70 per cent of the cosmos is contained in a previously unknown form of matter, called Dark Energy,” he said.

Professor Schmidt, leader of the High-Redshift Supernova Search Team, will describe this

discovery and explain how astronomers have used observations to trace our universe’s history back more that 13 billion years, leading them to ponder the ultimate fate of the cosmos.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is being hosted by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.


The Accelerating Universe public lecture

Date: Tuesday, 19 February 2013, 6pm – 7pm

Location: Medical Lecture Theatre, Building 45, Room 002

JCU Townsville

People wishing to attend are asked to please RSVP by Monday, 18 February 2013 to janet.swanson@jcu.edu.au or 07 - 4781 6787


Brian Schmidt is a Laureate Fellow at The Australian National University's Mount Stromlo Observatory. Brian was raised in Montana and Alaska, USA, and received undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Arizona in 1989. Under the supervision of Robert Kirshner, he completed his Astronomy Master's degree (1992) and PhD (1993) from Harvard University. In 1994 he and Nick Suntzeff formed the HighZ SN Search team, a group of 20 astronomers on 5 continents who used distant exploding stars to trace the expansion of the Universe back in time. This group's discovery of an accelerating Universe was named Science Magazine's Breakthrough of the Year for 1998. Brian Schmidt joined the staff of the Australian National University in 1995, and has received a number of awards, including the 2006 Shaw Prize for Astronomy and the 2007 Gruber Prize for Cosmology. His work on the accelerating universe was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, jointly with Adam Riess and Saul Perlmutter. Brian Schmidt is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the United States National Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and Foreign Member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences. In 2013 he was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia. Brian is continuing his work using exploding stars to study the Universe, and is leading Mt Stromlo’s effort to use the SkyMapper telescope to provide a comprehensive digital map of the southern sky from ultraviolet through near infrared wavelengths.