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Expanding our Universe: An Astronomer and a Physicist Walk into a Room…

Wendy L. Freedman and Sean Carroll
In conversation
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Episode Summary

The work of Wendy L. Freedman, one of the world’s most influential astronomers, is based on being an observer, while that of Caltech cosmologist Sean Carroll is based on his role as theorist. In a phenomenal period of discovery in which the view of the universe has expanded enormously, what fundamental discoveries might yet be uncovered? Join us for a conversation with these two experts about what could literally be on the horizon.

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Participant(s) Bio

Dr. Wendy Freedman is University Professor at the University of Chicago. Until recently, she served as the Crawford H. Greenewalt Director of the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California. She also chairs the Board of Directors for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), a 25-m optical telescope scheduled for construction in Chile in 2020. Her principle research interests are in observational cosmology; Dr. Freedman was a lead investigator for a team of astronomers who carried out the Hubble Key Project to measure the current expansion rate of the Universe. Her current research interests are directed at measuring both the current and past expansion rate of the universe, and in characterizing the nature of dark energy, which is causing the universe to speed up its expansion.

Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. His research focuses on fundamental physics and cosmology, especially issues of dark matter, dark energy, and the origin of the universe. He is the author of The Particle at the End of the Universe and From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. Recent awards include the Gemant Award from the American Institute of Physics and the Winton Prize from the Royal Society of London. He frequently consults for film and television, and has been featured on shows such as The Colbert Report and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.