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PUBLIC LECTURE: 2007 Ian Constable Lecture - First Light - An overview of modern astronomy and our quest to find the dawn of creation

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2007 Ian Constable Lecture - First Light - An overview of modern astronomy and our quest to find the dawn of creation Other events...
Professor Alan Robson, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia

Invites you and your guest to the

2007 Ian Constable Lecture

to be presented by

Professor Peter Quinn, Premier's Fellow School of Physics, University of Western Australia

First Light - An overview of modern astronomy and our quest to find the dawn of creation

Abstract: Astronomy is the oldest scientific endeavour of mankind. The pattern and regular motions of the Sun, Moon, stars and other planets have guided our agriculture, our religions, our technological development and our journeys of discovery since before recorded history.

Over the past 400 years, the invention and development of telescopes has allowed us to step outside our own solar system to begin a new voyage of discovery, back in time, to the birth of the cosmos. On the journey so far, we have found a treasure trove of objects and phenomena from star destroying black holes, to whole galaxies in the process of collision, to new planets like our own Earth.

We are now nearing a period in our cosmic time travel that will contain one of the Universe's most profound events -the first light from the first star - the 'dawn of creation'. This event will be found and studied by a new telescope which, when completed in 2020, will be the world's largest astronomical facility. The telescope is called the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and Western Australia is currently the front-runner in an international competition to host the SKA. The remote desert of WA, home to Aboriginal peoples who are arguably the world's first astronomers, may provide mankind with its clearest view of the first objects created - the seeds of the Universe we see around us today.

This fascinating lecture will provide a broad overview of our cosmic journey back in time - what we have found so far, what mysteries we have uncovered and what we hope to find with the new generation of telescopes we are about to build.

Biographical note: Prof. Peter Quinn was born in Australia and received his BSc(Hons) in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Wollongong in 1978 where he won the University Medal in Physics.

He conducted graduate studies in astronomy and astrophysics at the Australian National University and received his PhD in 1982 with a thesis on the dynamics of galaxy collisions. His discovery of the dynamics of galactic shell structures received international recognition as a major contribution to astronomical research.

During postdoctoral appointments at the California Institute of Technology (1982-1985) and the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute (1985-1989) Prof. Quinn pursued his research interests in galaxy formation and dynamics, cosmology and dark matter.

In 1989 Prof. Quinn took up a Research Fellowship at ANU to lead the Australian involvement in the MACHO Dark Matter Search Project. The MACHO project took the front cover of Nature in 1991 with the first detection of baryonic dark matter.

His work on computational astrophysics was recognized with a NASA High Performance Computing and Communications Grand C hallenge Award in 1992.

In 1995 Prof. Quinn accepted a position as Division Head of the newly formed Data Management and Operations Division at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Munich where his work was awarded a Computerworld 21st Century Achievement Award for Science in June 2005.

During his time at ESO Prof. Quinn directed the Astrophysical Virtual Observatory (AVO) and helped lay the foundations for the International Virtual Observatory Alliance.

In December 2005, Prof. Quinn was awarded a Western Australian Premier's Fellowship and took up the position of Professor of Astronomy at the University of Western Australia in August 2006.

Presented by the UWA's Institute of Advanced Studies in collaboration with the Lions Eye Institute since 2000, the Ian Constable Lecture is held annually to acknowledge the contribution and achievements of Professor Constable. He became one of the youngest professors in Australia when at the age of 31, he was appointed by UWA in 1975 as the Lions Foundation Chair of Ophthalmology. In 1983, Professor Constable established the Lions Eye Institute in Perth which is now the largest eye research institute in the southern hemisphere with over 100 scientists from more than 30 countries addressing major blinding eye diseases.

Enquiries to Institute of Advanced Studies 6488 1340 or ias@admin.uwa.edu.au

This event is free and all are welcome, but TICKETS ARE ESSENTIAL to gain entry. Tickets are available from the Octagon Theatre box office, t: 6488 2440, Mon-Fri 12:00-4:15pm.

Early bookings are advised, limit of 6 tickets per customer applies.
Speaker(s) Professor Peter Quinn, Premier's Fellow, School of Physics, University of Western Australia
Location Octagon Theatre, UWA
Contact Institute of Advanced Studies <ias@admin.uwa.edu.au> : (08) 6488 1340
URL http://www.ias.uwa.edu.au
Start Mon, 10 Sep 2007 19:30
End Mon, 10 Sep 2007 20:30
RSVP RSVP is required.
Submitted by Milka Bukilic <mbukilic@admin.uwa.edu.au>
Last Updated Tue, 31 Jul 2007 10:57
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