2011 Lecture Series
Dr. Tommaso Treu
Dark Matter Mysteries and Galaxy Evolution
(March 15, 2011) According to our current understanding, most of the mass of the universe is in the form of a mysterious substance, known as dark matter, that does not emit or absorb light. We do not know what dark matter is made of, but we see it manifest itself at astronomical scales through its gravitational effects. Although the cosmological model based on dark matter works quite well on very large scales, there appears to be tension at subgalactic scales, where dark matter interacts with regular matter. Professor Treu will present his research on this shadowy component of the cosmos and discuss some intriguing questions in dark matter cosmology.
Dr. David Jewitt
Keck’s Eyes on our Solar System
(February 15, 2011) Our perception of the solar system continues to evolve in dramatic ways and Keck Observatory plays a leading role in building our understanding of its origin, evolution and structure. A pioneering planetary scientist who counts among his discoveries the Kuiper belt beyond Neptune, Professor Jewitt’s talk will offer us the latest clues of how planets form and evolve, and, among other things, the origin of the oceans and the ubiquity of life. With all we know in this golden age of exploration, our astronomical back yard remains largely mysterious and completely astonishing to those who study it.
Dr. Mark Morris
Focusing in on the Galactic Center
(January 25, 2011) Three of the most massive star clusters in our Milky Way Galaxy are found near the Galaxy’s center and their formation dynamics produce a startling display of pyrotechnics. Alongside these young compact star groups, the Galactic Center also harbors the Milky Way’s massive black hole putting forth many fascinating mysteries; for one, how can stars form so close to the hostile environment of a supermassive black hole. UCLA Professor Mark Morris will present current research findings from observations made with the Keck telescopes and their adaptive optics systems to resolve these complex questions of the cosmos.
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