Twenty years ago, astronomers were astonished to learn from observations of exploding stars that cosmic expansion is speeding up. We attribute this to a mysterious “dark energy” that pervades the universe and makes up 70 percent of it. Scientists are working in many ways to learn more about the nature of dark energy, but our reservoir of ignorance is deep.
On Oct. 24, astronomer Bob Kirshner gave the 2018 Distinguished Lecture in Astronomy, “From the Accelerating Universe to Accelerating Science,” for which he summarizes the present state of knowledge and looks ahead to new ways to use infrared observations of supernovae to improve our grip on dark energy.
Kirshner leads the science program at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which makes over $100 million in grants for basic science each year, and served on the astronomy faculty at Harvard for 30 years.
The Distinguished Lecture in Astronomy is an annual public lecture sponsored by the Department of Astronomy at UC Berkeley.
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This talk was recorded by Educational Technology Services.