Archive for September 9, 2016

Cosmology: Galileo to Gravitational Waves – with Hiranya Peiris

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on September 9, 2016 by telescoper

Here’s another thing I was planning to post earlier in the summer, but for some reason forgot. It’s a video of a talk given at the Royal Institution earlier this year by eminent cosmologist Prof. Hiranya Peiris of University College London. The introduction to the talk goes like this:

Modern fundamental physics contains ideas just as revolutionary as those of Copernicus or Newton; ideas that may radically change our understanding of the world; ideas such as extra dimensions of space, or the possible existence of other universes.

Testing these concepts requires enormous energies, far higher than what is achievable by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and in fact, beyond any conceivable Earth-bound experiments. However, at the Big Bang, the Universe itself performed the ultimate experiment and left clues and evidence about what was behind the origin of the cosmos as we know it, and how it is evolving. And the biggest clue is the afterglow of the Big Bang itself.

In the past decade we have been able to answer age-old questions accurately, such as how old the Universe is, what it contains, and its destiny. Along with these answers have also come many exciting new questions. Join Hiranya Peiris to unravel the detective story, explaining what we have uncovered, and how we know what we know.

Hiranya Peiris is Professor of Astrophysics in the Astrophysics Group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at University College London. She is also the Principal Investigator of the CosmicDawn project, funded by the European Research Council

She is also a member of the Planck Collaboration and of the ongoing Dark Energy Survey, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Her work both delves into the Cosmic Microwave Background and contributes towards the next generation galaxy surveys that will yield deep insights into the evolution of the Universe.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about “Cosmic Dawn” but I’ve never met her…

Anyway, here is the video. It’s quite long (almost an hour) but very interesting and well-presented for experts and non-experts alike!

Update: I’ve just heard the news that Hiranya is shortly to take up a new job in Sweden as Director of the Oscar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics. Hearty congratulations and good luck to her!


Horowitz plays Schubert

Posted in Music with tags , , on September 9, 2016 by telescoper

This was doing the rounds on Facebook earlier this summer and I meant to post it on here, but forgot. Anyway, better late than never.  This is the great Vladimir Horowitz playing the Impromptu No. 3  in G flat major D899  by Franz Schubert. It’s a stunning performance to watch as well as listen to, despite – or maybe because of – the fact that he was an old man at the time and this was to be his last concert in Vienna. I love the way he takes his time to settle at the start, and then all of a sudden, his hands apparently almost still, he starts to caress the keyboard with his fingers and this beautiful music comes to life, almost as if it’s coming directly from another world. Take a few minutes off, and let some beauty into your heart..