How Things in the Universe Came About & How They Ended Up Within Us

How Things in the Universe Came About & How They Ended Up Within Us

College of Sciences lecture: Frontiers in Science

An illustrated, non-technical public lecture by Tom Abel


February 28, 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm







Stanford University

Tom Abel will take the audience on a journey through the early stages of the universe, using the latest computer animations of how the first stars formed and died and how stars built up the first galaxies.

His work has shown that the first luminous objects in the universe were massive stars, shining one million times as brightly as our Sun. They died quickly and seeded the cosmos with the chemical elements necessary for life. Galaxies started to assemble just one hundred million years after the Big Bang, and they are still growing now. Computer simulations of these events provide remarkable insights into the early history of the cosmos.

Abel is computational cosmologist who explores cosmic history using supercomputer calculations. His long-term goal is "to build a galaxy, one star at a time," via computer modeling. Among his research interests are the processes and events of "the dark ages," the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang.

Abel's visualizations and simulations of dark-age events have been featured on PBS, the Discovery Channel, and on the cover of National Geographic.