All from Nothing: the structuring of our Universe

The Department of Mathematics & Applied Mathematics and the Department of Astronomy have the pleasure of inviting you to a public talk by Professor Simon White, a Director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany.  Professor White, who is a world-leading astrophysicist, has made important contributions to the study of the evolution of galaxies and the properties of dark matter, will present a talk entitled, "All for Nothing:  the structuring of our Universe".  

Telescopes are time-machines. They allow us to see into the distant past. Our deepest images show the Universe not as it is today, but as it was just 400,000 years after the Big Bang. At that time there were no galaxies, no stars, no planets, no people, no familiar elements other than hydrogen and helium. The cosmos contained nothing but weak sound waves in a near-uniform fog. Supercomputers can compress thirteen billion years of cosmic evolution into a few months of calculation to show how these sound waves developed into the rich structure we see around us today. A study of their harmonic content gives clues to their origin. They appear to be an echo of quantum zero-point fluctuations occurring a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang. Thus
our entire world may be a consequence of the nature of this early vacuum. In a very real sense, everything may have come from nothing.

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 16:15

M304, Mathematics Building, University Avenue, Upper Campus, UCT

Refreshments will be served in the Tea Room from 16h00