Astronomy Lecture Series

The Big Bang and Beyond

Four excursions to the edges of time and space

When studying the sky, the farther out you look, the further back in time you see. Journey to the edge—and the beginning—of the universe in this series of fascinating lectures. Three top UW faculty members join noted science communicator Adam Frank, ’92, in this celebration of the UW Astronomy Department’s 50-year legacy of exploring the wonder and grandeur of the stars.

Wed. Oct. 21, 2015

Unravelling our own cosmic history

Andy Connolly, UW professor of astronomy

Andy ConnollyHow do we map the universe from Earth? How do these data help us view our own origins? UW professor Andy Connolly will take us on a tour of how, using the latest technologies, astronomical surveys like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Large Synoptic Sky Survey Review produce some of the deepest optical images ever obtained. These images allow us to look for flashes from the most energetic events in the distant universe and dramatically extend our cosmic reach. With them, we are further unravelling the last 13.8 billion years of the history of the universe.

This lecture is sold out.

Wed. Nov. 4, 2015

The end of the beginning

Miguel Morales, UW professor of physics

Miguel MoralesInflation, particle production, huge sound waves and gravity waves—the early universe was a strange place. This phase of the universe culminated with the release of the oldest light we can ever hope to see: the Cosmic Microwave Background. In this lecture, UW professor Miguel Morales will focus on how scientists read the subtle patterns in the Cosmic Microwave Background to infer what happened in the first few moments of our universe’s history—a time when the cosmos was a very different place than the one we live in today.

This lecture is sold out.

Wed. Nov. 18, 2015

Building the universe, piece by piece

Julianne Dalcanton, UW professor of astronomy

Julianne DalcantonProfessor Julianne Dalcanton has led several teams of researchers who have combined the extraordinary images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope with data from the ground to investigate how galaxies like ours formed, evolved, and produced new stars. In this lecture, Dalcanton will highlight the unique role that Hubble has played in shaping our understanding of galaxies and stars as she illuminates the complex forces that have shaped the universe we see around us. She will also talk about the future of space exploration and how it will shape future discoveries about the universe.

This lecture is sold out.

Wed. Dec. 2, 2015

Before time, beyond the universe

Adam Frank, ’92, University of Rochester professor of physics and astronomy,
co-founder of NPR’s “13.7: Cosmos and Culture” blog

Adam Frank, ’92Join science communicator Adam Frank for a journey to “the wild west of physics”—the speculative realm of how time began, how many universes are out there and whether or not we need to rethink our fundamental approach to cosmic questions. Beginning with questions that informed philosophy for centuries, Frank will show how physicists and astronomers are working to create bold new ways of seeing reality, much in the same fashion as Leonardo, Copernicus, Bacon, Newton and their contemporaries reframed the human perspective in the 16th and 17th centuries.

This lecture is sold out.

UWAA and UWRA members receive advance registration for the series! Not a member? Join today!

For more information, contact the UW Alumni Association at 206-543-0540 or