viernes, 15 de febrero de 2013

LECTURE ON ASTRONOMY IN ENGLISH




Conference “Astronomy. From here, to eternity?”

Date:   21st February at 8 pm / El 21 de febrero a las 20 horas.

Place: Centro de la UNED en Guadalajara. Colegio San José.

Speaker: Edmund Leary. PhD in Chemistry from the University of Liverpool. Working at the Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Nanociencia Foundation.

If you are interested in the issue and if you like English, don't miss the opportunity to attend this lecture. You can read some comments about it below this post.


Astronomy is, perhaps, the oldest science. People have been observing the heavens for many thousands of years, and making predictions based on those observations. In the beginning this was mainly for religious purposes. Modern astronomy really began during the Renaissance with the observations of Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler, whilst Isaac Newton explained the motion of the heavenly bodies, gave a theory of gravity, and invented the reflecting telescope! Arguably the most important discovery in modern astronomy is what is known as the Cosmic Microwave Background. This is radiation (of the kind which we all use in the kitchen!) which is all around us and provides the strongest evidence we have for the Big Bang, the proposed origin of the Universe. Several other recent discoveries now go to show how little in fact we know about the Universe. These include Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Dark Matter is ‘dark’, because we cannot ‘see’ it. In other words it does not interact with radiation, we can only detect it via its gravitational influence on visible matter. Dark Energy is so called because we have virtually no idea what it is! But since 1998, astronomers have known that something is opposing gravity and actually speeding up the rate of expansion of the entire universe.

Nowadays, Astronomy is intimately linked with the subjects of Cosmology and Particle Physics to try and answer the big questions posed by these baffling observations. Two of the biggest are perhaps ‘What came before the Big Bang?’ and ‘Is the Universe infinite, or does it have an edge?’ My talk will begin with a look at how anyone can get started in astronomy, from the type of equipment available to the modern day amateur, through to some important observations that can be made which can help professional astronomers. In the second part of my talk I shall take a look at recent progress in our understanding of the Universe, which leads to fascinating ideas such as if the Universe is infinite, then there is really somebody who looks just like you, reading the same advert for the same lecture, somewhere else in the Universe right now! However, if the Universe is finite, what lies beyond? Neither scenario makes any real sense!

Vocabulary
Astronomy Cosmology Telescope Moon Planet
Star Galaxy Black Hole Quasar Universe
Big Bang Dark Matter Dark Energy Standard Candle
Radio Astronomy

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