Suntzeff to Present Public Astronomy Talk at Texas Tech University
As part of a statewide celebration of astronomy in commemoration of 2009 as the official International Year of Astronomy, the Department of Physics at Texas Tech University will host an evening of astronomy Thursday (Sept. 24) featuring a free public lecture by Texas A&M University astronomer Dr. Nicholas B. Suntzeff.
Suntzeff, director of the astronomy program at Texas A&M and an international expert in supernovae and cosmology, will present “Dark Matter, Dark Energy and the Evolution of the Universe” at 7 p.m. in the Science Building, Room 007, on the Texas Tech campus. Tickets are not required for the lecture, which will explore the latest findings in cosmology and offer a tour of what Suntzeff describes as “our extravagant Universe, from its beginnings to its possible endings.”
“Quietly, in the last 10 years, a profound shift in our understanding of the Universe has taken place,” Suntzeff explains. “Our Universe is finite and bounded. We now have the technology to map out all the billions of galaxies in the Universe, out to the very edge, and will do so in the next few decades.”
Suntzeff’s lecture marks the seventh event in the year-long International Year of Astronomy (IYA) Texas Speakers’ Series, jointly sponsored by the astronomy programs at Texas A&M and The University of Texas to commemorate IYA, the world-wide celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first astronomical use of the telescope in 1609. The series features astronomers from both universities traveling to cities across the state to present their astronomical research and related topics of interest to area audiences.
Suntzeff, inaugural holder of the Mitchell-Heep-Munnerlyn Endowed Chair in Observational Astronomy within the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy, came to Texas A&M in spring 2006 to lead the university’s efforts to build a world-renowned program in astronomy and cosmology. Prior to that, he spent 20 years at the United States National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO)/Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in La Serena, Chile, where he was the associate director for science for NOAO and a tenured astronomer since 1996.
Suntzeff’s many awards include a share in the 2007 Gruber Cosmology Prize — widely acknowledged as second only to the Nobel Prize in terms of importance in the field of cosmology — for his role in the discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating. The discovery, since dubbed dark energy, was honored as Science magazine’s “Scientific Breakthrough of the Year” in 1998.
Igor Volobouev, Assistant Professor of Physics, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-4752, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shana K. Hutchins, Texas A&M University College of Science Communications, (979) 862-1237, email@example.com
Keely Finkelstein, Texas A&M University Astrophysics Outreach Coordinator, (979) 862-2105, firstname.lastname@example.org
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