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PERIMETER INSTITUTE RECORDED SEMINAR ARCHIVE

What's blowing up the Universe?
Speaker(s): Mark Wyman
Abstract: The reason cosmologists have a job is that the Universe as a whole -- the stuff between planets and stars and galaxies -- is, despite first appearances, a pretty interesting place. The strangest fact about it is that it's expanding, and always has been, as far as we know (and though Einstein's theory of gravity predicts this, Albert himself didn't much care for the idea, at least at first). After about seventy years -- it was discovered in 1929 -- this expansion was kind of old hat, but then new observations came around that shattered the old complacency. The old idea was that the Universe was expanding, but slowing down as it went -- since gravity, as far as anyone knew, could only cause attractive forces. What the new observations demonstrated is that the Universe's expansion is, in fact, accelerating -- getting faster with time. This is so shocking that most astronomers and cosmologists couldn't believe it at first, and some still don't. In this talk, I'll explain a bit about how we know this, why it's so shocking, and tell you something about the crazy ideas people at Perimeter have for what's going on.
Date: 19/08/2008 - 9:00 am
Collection: ISSYP 2008
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