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Niels Bohr Institutet > Mød os > NBI Foredrag > Mitch Campbell

19. december 2008

 

 

About the Dark Cosmology Centre (DARK) Established by the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF), the Dark Cosmology Centre opened September 1st, 2005 in the Rockefeller building, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen. DARK is initially funded by the DNRF for a duration of five years, and recently was awarded another five year period (2010-2015). In addition, DARK receives funding from a variety of sources, including the Lundbeck Foundation, European Union/European Commission, Nordforsk and the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation.

Activities at DARK focus on research, but other activities are also important: research training, teaching, and conveying the results and methods of studying the dark Universe to the public. Increasing the number of women in science, and in particular astronomy, is also among the long-term goals of the Centre.

About the presentation:
The aim of this presentation is to bring the science of Astrobiology down to Earth, and to hopefully cause people to look up at the night sky differently. Are we alone in the universe?  

 

Kategori: Astronomi 

  
Mitch Campbell is studying and working at the Dark Cosmology Centre at NBI. He has been a high school physics teacher for more than 10 years, and is an experienced public speaker.

Presentation 1

Astrobiology: "Are We Alone in the Universe?"

 

The Astrobiology presentation is about the search for life on other planets.

Topics covered include questions such as: ‘What is life?', ‘How did life arise on Earth?', ‘Can life exist on other planets?', and ‘How could we detect it?' These questions lie at the heart of our own understanding of our place in the universe. Whenever we look up at the night sky, it is easy to wonder about what those bright points of light are. We now know them to be stars, where elements are being continually made. We have even started to detect planets around those distant stars. How many of those planets could harbor life?

During the presentation, we will discuss the current theories for how we came to be here on Earth, starting with the Big Bang and ending up with us humans on Earth. We also take this one step further and consider how we might try to detect life on other planets.

We will look at where scientists are searching for life on other planets in our own solar system, as well as the search for planets around other stars (exoplanets), including the latest exciting findings.

Presentation 2

Dark Matter and Dark Energy

The presentation covers the evidence for Dark Matter and Dark Energy, topics right at the cutting edge of science. 

Dark Matter and Dark Energy are thought to make up 96% of the mass in the Universe, and we know almost nothing about them! We start the discussion by learning about the scientific method and the importance of evidence in our development of our own understanding. Rather than being a mere collection of facts, science is a way of thinking.

This leads us to a discussion of the evidence for Dark Matter, including rotation curves of galaxies and gravitational lensing. We go over what Dark Matter could be, including such funny names as MACHOs and WIMPs. Then, we move to an explanation of the Big Bang and the expansion of the universe, and how recent evidence has radically changed our understanding of matter. There exists something very strange called Dark Energy that seems to be pulling everything in the universe apart!

We discuss some of the implications for Dark Energy and what it all might mean for us. It is a fascinating topic at the limits of our own understanding. How can we know something exists if it is never directly seen?