Renowned professor to speak on the Big Bang, expansion of the universe

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Louise Good, (808) 956-9403
Media Contact, Institute for Astronomy
Dr. Roy Gal, (301) 728-8637
Assistant Astronomer/Outreach Coordinator, Institute for Astronomy
Posted: May 4, 2014

Professor Alex Filippenko.  Photo by Steve McConnell.
Professor Alex Filippenko. Photo by Steve McConnell.

Professor Alex Filippenko, an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a world-renowned expert on cosmology, will give the next Sheraton Waikīkī Explorers of the Universe public lecture, titled “The Big Bang Theory, Inflation, and the Multiverse: An English Major’s Introduction to the Birth and Early Evolution of the Universe,” on Saturday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. at Kennedy Theatre on the UH Mānoa campus.

Filippenko is a professor of astronomy and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the recipient of numerous prizes for his scientific research, and was the only person to have been a member of both teams that revealed the Nobel-worthy accelerating expansion of the Universe. Voted “Best Professor” on the Berkeley campus a record nine times, he has produced five astronomy video courses with The Great Courses, coauthored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appeared in about 100 TV documentaries. In 2004, he received the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.

In his talk, Filippenko will explain why, based on observations and theory, astronomers generally accept a Big Bang origin for the cosmos—a hot, dense beginning probably characterized by exceptionally rapid expansion, when the Universe grew at a rate much faster than the speed of light. Very recently, exquisite studies of the cosmic microwave background radiation—the afterglow of the Big Bang—found compelling new evidence for this rapid expansion, which astronomers call inflation. Filippenko will further discuss how natural extensions of these ideas suggest that our universe may be part of a grander structure known as a multiverse and that the complexity of our universe and its ability to harbor life may be quite rare.

Tickets are free but required. Go to to obtain them. Do not call Kennedy Theatre. Latecomers with tickets may not be seated, as people without tickets will be seated on a first-come, first-seated basis starting at 7:20 p.m.

The Explorers of the Universe series, sponsored by the UH Institute for Astronomy and the Sheraton Waikīkī Hotel, brings famed astronomers to Hawaiʻi ahead of the next International Astronomical Union meeting, which will host nearly 4,000 astronomers at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center in August 2015.

Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakala and Maunakea. The Institute operates facilities on the islands of Oʻahu, Maui and Hawaiʻi.

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