Nobel Laureate lecture at Linfield College explores expanding universe

Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt Linfield College will host Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt on Monday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall. Schmidt, a co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, will speak about “The Accelerating Universe.”

Schmidt’s visit is part of the Oregon Nobel Laureate Symposium at Linfield, one of only five such symposia in the world, which gives students and faculty the opportunity to meet and dialogue with Nobel laureates, and includes a free lecture open to the public.

Schmidt was awarded the Nobel Prize for his shared discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe. In 1998 two teams traced back the expansion of the universe over billions of years. The scientists discovered that it was accelerating, a startling discovery contrary to the then-current theory that the universe’s expansion should be slowing down. This understanding, named Science magazine’s “Breakthrough of the Year,” suggests that more than 70 per cent of the cosmos is contained in a previously unknown form of matter, called Dark Energy.

As the leader of the High-Redshift Supernova Search Team, Schmidt will describe this historic development and explain how astronomers have used observations to trace our universe back more than 13 billion years, leading them to ponder the ultimate fate of the cosmos.

Schmidt is a Laureate Fellow at the Mount Stromlo Observatory at Australian National University, where he continues to use exploding stars to study the universe. He is leading the observatory’s effort to build the SkyMapper telescope, a facility that will provide a comprehensive digital map of the southern sky from ultraviolet through near infrared wavelengths.

Schmidt was awarded the Australian Government’s inaugural Malcolm McIntosh Award for Achievement in the Physical Sciences in 2000, the Australian Academy of Sciences Pawsey Medal in 2001, the Astronomical Society of India’s Vainu Bappu Medal in 2002, and an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship in 2005. In 2006 Schmidt was jointly awarded the million dollar Shaw Prize for Astronomy, and in 2007 he shared the Gruber Prize for Cosmology with colleagues. In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the United States National Academy and a Foreign Member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences.

Schmidt received his doctorate from Harvard University in 1993.

For more information, contact John McKeegan at 503-883-2408.

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