Dark Matter: and how we would not be alive without it
August 30, 2012 - 10:00am
Marcus Nano Conf. Room 1116
Most of the mass in the Universe is of some unknown form of matter. While we have some guesses what it might be we are not sure. In this talk for a non-specialist audience, Professor Abel will explain how observations using telescopes convinced the scientists that Dark Matter must exist. He will also show how without it we would not even be here. Using videos produced from his supercomputer calculations we can see how stars and galaxies are formed in virtual universes that have a striking resemblance to our own. Without dark matter none of this would work. The talk will also explain current experiments on the way that have the hope of discovering what this dominant part of the Universe may be made of.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Tom Abel of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology is a man with a mission: "My long term goal is to build a galaxy, one star at a time" (via computer modeling, of course). Among Abel's research interests are the processes and events of "the dark ages", the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang. Abel & colleagues' visualizations and simulations of dark ages events, in addition to some 100 publications in the technical literature, have been featured on PBS and The Discovery Channel and in numerous newspapers and magazines, including the covers of Discover in December 2002 and of National Geographic in February 2003. Dr. Abel studied at the Max Planck Institut fuer Astrophysik at Garching and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Urbana/Champaign prior to earning a PhD in physics in 2000 from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat, Munich, Germany. Abel was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge, England and at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was a Wempe Lecturer at the Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany, in 2001, and merited a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, Arlington, Virginia, 2002. Dr. Abel served as an Assistant and then Associate Professor for 2.5 years at The Pennsylvania State University in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He is now an Associate Professor of Physics in the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at both the Stanford University Physics Department and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford and Menlo Park, California.