Carnegie Mellon University
April 21, 2014

David Spergel To Present Second Bennett-McWilliams Lecture in Cosmology

By Jocelyn Duffy

David Spergel To Present Second Bennett-McWilliams Lecture in Cosmology David Spergel To Present Second Bennett-McWilliams Lecture in Cosmology

PITTSBURGH—Recent developments in the field of cosmology have yielded images of the universe in its infancy — when it was a mere 380,000 years old. While these images, formed through observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation, have been able to tell us a great deal about our universe, many key questions remain unanswered.

David Spergel, chair of the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, will address these topics in the second Bennett-McWilliams Lecture in Cosmology. His lecture, titled "Taking the Universe's Baby Picture," will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 24 in the Gates-Hillman Center's Rashid Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

Spergel is best known for his work with the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), a space-based telescope that measured radiation left over from the Big Bang. He is currently working with several large international cosmology collaborations, including the WFIRST mission that aims to understand dark energy, explore the growth of structures and galaxies and search for extra-solar planets; the Subaru Measurement of Images and Redshifts, a two-part project consisting of the HyperSuprime Cam survey and the PFS spectroscopic study; and the U.S. Euclid Collaboration.

Spergel, who is the Charles Young Professor of Astronomy on the Class of 1897 Foundation, has won a number of prizes including Princeton's Distinguished Teaching Award, the Gruber Prize (as part of WMAP team), the Shaw Prize in Astronomy, a MacArthur Fellowship and the AAS Helen B. Warner Prize. He also was named "One of America's Top Scientists" by Time magazine. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he serves as co-chair of the National Research Council's Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The Bennett-McWilliams Lecture series, funded by Carnegie Mellon alumni Fred Bennett (S'86) and Bruce McWilliams (S'78,'78,'81), brings leading scientists studying astrophysics and cosmology to Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh campus.