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Noted Astronomer to Lecture at Millsaps College

by Web on January 20, 2017

Alex Filippenko, PhD, an elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and one of the world’s most highly cited astronomers, will present a lecture on solar eclipses and “dark energy” on the campus of Millsaps College on Friday, January 27. The lecture will take place at 1:30 p.m. in Room 215 of the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex.

A total solar eclipse, when the Moon fully covers the bright disk of the Sun and reveals its breathtaking corona, is one of nature’s most magnificent spectacles—truly an awe-inspiring experience that moves some people to tears. On August 21, 2017, for the first time in 38 years, the very narrow path of a total solar eclipse will fall on the continental United States.

Over the largest distances, the Universe seems to be dominated by a mysterious, repulsive “dark energy” that stretches space itself faster and faster. But the physical origin and nature of dark energy, which makes up about 70% of the contents of the Universe, is probably the most important unsolved problem in all of physics; it may provide clues to a unified quantum theory of gravity.

The Richard & Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, he is the recipient of numerous prizes for his scientific research and the only person to have been a member of both teams that revealed the accelerating expansion of the Universe. Winner of the most prestigious teaching awards at UC Berkeley and voted the “Best Professor” on campus a record nine times, he was named the U.S. National Professor of the Year in 2006. He has produced five astronomy video courses with The Great Courses, coauthored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appears in more than 100 television documentaries. In 2004, he was awarded the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. He is addicted to observing total solar eclipses, having seen 15 so far.