The Birth of Cosmology

Guest Speaker

Thursday, 18th June 2020 (19:45 - 21:30)

Venue: Virtual Meeting

The Birth of Cosmology: discovering external galaxies

At the turn of the 20th century, the received wisdom in astronomy was that everything we could see kin the night sky was part of the Milky Way, and that our universe consisted of the Milky Way embedded in infinite space.  However, as the new technology of large reflecting telescopes took hold, doubts began to be expressed.  100 years ago, on April 26 1920, astronomers Heber Curtis and Harlow Shapley held the famous Great Debate on the structure of the Milky Way and the nature of the spiral nebulae, but the matter was not really settled until 1925, with the aid of the 100-inch Hooker telescope.  In this lecture, we'll look at why it was so difficult to establish the existence of the wider universe, and what the consequences were for modern cosmology.

Speaker: Dr.Susan Cartwright

Dr Susan Cartwright graduated from Glasgow University with a BSc in Astronomy and Natural Philosophy (Physics, to most people - but if Natural Philosophy was good enough for Newton it was good enough for Glasgow!). 

She then did a PhD in particle physics, also at Glasgow, and worked in Hamburg, Germany and San Francisco before arriving in Sheffield in 1989.  She is currently working on neutrino oscillations with the T2K experiment in Japan(which, incidentally, doesn't have any evidence that neutrinos travel faster than light - though it does have evidence that accelerators don't much like earthquakes).


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