Astronomy Lecture: Multiple Universes & Cosmic Inflation
The Quest to Understand Our Universe (and Find Others)
May 18, 2011
7 p.m.

As part of the 12th annual Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, Assistant Professor of Physics Anthony Aguirre, Ph.D., of the University of California at Santa Cruz, will discuss Multiple Universes & Cosmic Inflation:
The Quest to Understand Our Universe (and Find Others)
, an illustrated, non-technical lecture, Wednesday, May 18, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. Admission is free and the public is invited. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrive early to locate parking

About a decade ago, scientists completed a great transformation in the understanding of our cosmos, establishing a broad and deep understanding of how the observable universe has evolved from a hot, dense state 13.7 billion years ago. Yet a second, even bigger transformation may now be taking place, because this understanding points to an early epoch during which the universe expanded at a stupendous rate to create the vast amount of space we can observe. 

Cosmologist are now coming to believe that this "cosmic inflation" may do much more: in many versions, inflation goes on forever, generating not just our observable universe but also infinitely many such regions with similar or different properties, together forming a staggeringly complex and vast "multiverse". Dr. Aguirre will trace the genesis of this idea, explore some of its implications, and discuss how cosmologists are currently seeking ways to test this idea by actually searching for hints of other "universes". Don't miss this introduction to one of the most mind-boggling parts of modern astronomy.

Aguirre earned a doctorate in astronomy from Harvard University, then spent three years as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton before joining physics department of the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has worked on a wide variety of topics in theoretical cosmology (the branch of astronomy that takes as its subject the origin,
properties, and ultimate fate of the entire universe.) One of his research interests concerns "eternal inflation", the idea that the universe evolved forever, endlessly spawning "bubbles" or "pockets" with potentially diverse properties. He has also studied the nature of dark matter, black holes, the first stars, intergalactic dust, and the arrow of time, and serves as associate scientific director of the of the independent nonprofit Foundational Questions Institute.

The free lecture series is sponsored by the Foothill College Astronomy Program, NASA Ames Research Center, SETI Institute and Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Past lectures from the series are available online in MP3-format.

Visitors must purchase a campus parking permit for $2 from yellow dispensers in student lots. Parking lots 1, 7 and 8 provide stair and no-stair access to the theatre. For more information, access or call (650) 949-7888.
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Special Notice: Special Notice: Parking permit is required at all times. Purchase permit for $2 from yellow dispensers in any student lot.