Sunday, May 19, 2019 8:15 am - 9:30 am
David Helfand / Columbia University
In July of 1969, we knew the Universe was big and old, but we didn't know how big or how old — 5 billion, 10 billion, 20 billion years? Would the Universe expand to a maximum size and then re-collapse, or just expend ever more slowly out to infinity? Did black holes really exist in Nature? Were the eight planets of our solar system the only ones in the entire cosmos?
The generation of young scientists inspired by Apollo 11 has been at work on these questions for half a century now, and their progress has provided both stunningly precise and humbling answers to all of these questions and more. We'll explore what's known — and what's still unknown — about the Universe fifty years after our first small step into the cosmos.
David Helfand has been a Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University for 42 years where he served as chair of the Department for nearly half that time. He is also the former President of the American Astronomical Society and of Quest University Canada, and currently serves as Chair of the American Institute of Physics. He has received the Columbia Presidential Teaching Award and the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates. He is the author of the new book, “A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age.”