HMC Physics Colloquium

Tuesdays at 16:30 in Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, Room B460

Michael Wood-Vasey (’98)

Harvard University

The Accelerating Universe and You: The Past, Present, and Future of Exploring the Universe With Supernovae

Feb. 21, 2006

The field of cosmology has been revolutionized in the last decade by the discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating. This remarkable conclusion was first derived by using Type Ia supernovae as standardizable cosmological candles. Since this initial work, a number of complementary cosmological measurements have led to our current "concordance" cosmological model that states that 70% of the Universe is made up of a "dark energy" that is currently pushing the Universe apart. I will present recent efforts in the field of SN Ia cosmology, including those of the ESSENCE project , that have begun to home in on the nature of this mysterious dark energy. Pontifications on the future of precision cosmology will follow.