Star Talk: The quest for 1% – the past, present and future for measuring the Hubble Constant and the expansion of the Universe

Star Talk: The quest for 1% – the past, present and future for measuring the Hubble Constant and the expansion of the Universe

November 13, 2016
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star_talk_oct “The quest for 1%: the past, present and future for measuring the Hubble Constant and the expansion of the Universe”, presented by Professor Hilding Neilson

Abstract: Almost a century ago, Edwin Hubble discovered that galaxies appear to be moving away from us and that farther galaxies moved at faster rates. This discovery revolutionized our view of the Universe and started the field of modern cosmology. Ever since, astronomers have been trying to better measure the expansion of the Universe, the Hubble constant, using numerous standard candles. In this talk, Professor Neilson will talk about the rich history of measuring the Hubble constant from some of the great arguments to the paradigm shift initiated by the results of the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project. He will conclude by discussing the future for measuring the Hubble constant to 1% precision to shed new insights into the dark matter and dark energy content of the Universe.

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About the Speaker: Professor Hilding Neilson is an astrophysicist working at the University of Toronto. His research interests focus on the physics of stars from their nuclear-burning centres out to theirs surfaces where the light we see comes from and beyond to their winds and interactions with their environments. By understanding the behaviours of stars, we gain insights into the building blocks of the Universe, but the challenge is that every star appears unique, each with their own stories and secrets to discover. He uses computational and theoretical tools to delve into the secrets of stars and try to learn about their place in the Universe and our night sky.

Professor Neilson received his undergraduate degree in astrophysics from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and his doctorate from the University of Toronto in 2009. After receiving his PhD, he spent three years at the Argelander-Institute for Astronomy at the University of Bonn in Germany working in the Stellar Astrophysics group and then two more years at East Tennessee State University.

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Date and Location: 8:10 PM, Nov 24 th, McLennan Physical Laboratories Room TBA
Telescope observing: 9:00 PM on 14th floor of MP (weather permitting)

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