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Exploring "The Mysteries of the Dark Universe"

Haverford welcomed cosmologist Rocky Kolb to campus in March for a public talk titled "The Mysteries of the Dark Universe."

In his talk, Kolb, Distinguished Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, discussed the importance of cosmology and the ways in which scientists look at the universe. “Every society in history and existing today,” he explained, “has had, or does have, a cosmology: a view of the universe, some idea of the origin of the universe, the nature of the universe, what’s in the universe, the age of the universe, and sometimes why there is a universe.”

However, said Kolb, the field of cosmology is relatively new to science. “When I was in graduate school in the late 1970s, cosmology was something that was considered a bit wacky, because there were no experiments and there weren’t observations, and it was just pure speculation,” Kolb said.

“But in the past 30 years or so, there have been such advances in what can be measured and advances in our understanding of basic physics particularly at high energies, that now [cosmology] is considered a science.”

Kolb went on to cover major topics of research today: dark matter and dark energy, which we see the effects of, he said, but don’t know much about.

Stephon Alexander ’93, Associate Professor of Physics, who had invited Kolb to Haverford, said that he first met him as a graduate student and was later invited to give his own talk at a conference Kolb organized. “[When] I thought who would I want to invite as a distinguished visitor, the first person that came to mind was Rocky.”

--Jennifer Campbell

A longer version of this article appeared in the Bi-College News

 

 

Prof. Anita Isaacs (Political Science) and students cross Founders Green after class.

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