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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Professor Simon White: All From Nothing: the structuring of our Universe

25th February 2008, 18:15, The Calman Learning Centre, room 202

Telescopes allow us to see the past and have provided a detailed image of our Universe when it was only 400,000 years old. At that time it was hot, dense and almost smooth, no stars, no galaxies, no planets no elements heavier than helium, formless but not void. I will explain how gravity drove the emergence of present-day complexity from this primordial soup, why the pattern that we see suggests that the Universe consists primarily of some as yet unidentified material, and why it is now thought that all structure originated from the vacuum itself just after the Big Bang. Everything, it seems, grew from nothing.

Professor Simon White is the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics at Garching, Germany. He is one of the world's leading cosmologists and he has pioneered various areas in Cosmology, such as computer simulations, a topic that has subsequently been developed extensively at Durham University. With Professor Frenk (Durham) and others, he is one of the originators of the Cold Dark Matter theory for the origin of galaxies and the cosmic large-scale structure.

This is the sixth lecture in the 'Models of the Future' public lecture series. It is free to attend and open to all