The Nature of the Universe
Great Debate in 1998: Program

Program distributed at The Nature of the Universe Debate in 1998:

The Nature of the Universe Debate:
Cosmology Solved?

Peebles - Turner

Baird Auditorium
The Smithsonian Institution
National Museum of Natural History

1998 October 4; Debate Program 1 - 4:30 pm

Sponsors: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
National Science Foundation
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Michigan Technological University
Universities Space Research Association

Program Organizers: Robert Nemiroff, Jerry Bonnell, Sandra Barnes, Wellesley Pereira,
Gabriela Marani, Haihong Che, and Carolyn Weissbach

Welcome to the Nature of the Universe Debate in 1998

Speculation into the nature of the universe is as old as curiosity. Several times in the past we humans were able to discern the fundamentals of our surroundings. We figured out that we live between vast oceans, that we live on a round Earth, that Earth is one of several planets in our Solar System, that our Sun was one of a Galaxy of billions, and that our Galaxy was one of many similar galaxies that exist throughout the cosmos. Well here we are again.

Within the past few decades we have learned that the matter that we see composing heaven and Earth is small in abundance compared to an unknown type of dark matter. Within the past year the first possibly credible evidence that even this dark matter is small compared to a new "dark energy" that pervades the Universe, a "cosmological constant". Is "dark energy" real? Is all the matter and energy now accounted for in the universe? Have we now reached the end of the quest for the major cosmological parameters: Hubble's Constant and Omega? Is cosmology now solved?

In 1920 Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, two leading astronomers of their day, debated their current understanding of the universe, including whether our Galaxy was itself the whole Universe. Today, Turner and Peebles, two leading astronomers of today, debate our current understanding of the nature of the universe in the same auditorium, located in one of the world's premier museums of natural history. We are therefore pleased to welcome you to the third in the series of the "Turn of the Millennium Debates." Today's debate is held in honor of the late David N. Schramm (1945 - 1997), a great scientist originally involved in this debate, who helped define the frontier connecting the very big and the very small, between particle physics and cosmology. Everyone involved in today's program knew him and admired him. These public programs are intended to highlight important problems in astrophysics that exist at the end of the second millennium. We sincerely hope that you find today's debate enjoyable, educational, and entertaining.

Robert Nemiroff, Michigan Technological University
Jerry Bonnell, NASA/GSFC/USRA

1:00 pm             Introductions
Fri                 Welcome to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Bonnell             Welcome to the Nature of the Universe Debate
Geller              A Note in Memory of David N. Schramm

                    Introductory Lectures
Gingerich           A Brief History of Our View of the Universe (40 minutes)
Silk                The Fundamental Parameters of Cosmology (40 minutes)

                    Intermission (15 minutes)

                    Debate:   Moderator Margaret Geller

                    Cosmology Solved?
Turner              A Particle Cosmologist's Viewpoint (30 min)
Peebles             An Astrophysical Cosmologist's Viewpoint (30 min)

Turner              Response & a look toward the future (15 min)
Peebles             Response & a look toward the future (15 min)

Questions and Comments form the Open Floor (time remaining until 4:25)

Geller              Closing Comments
Nemiroff            Announcements
Who's Who
Owen Gingerich: Dr. Gingerich is a senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University. In 1992-1993, he chaired Harvard's History of Science Department. He served as vice president of the American Philosophical Society as well as chairman of the US National Committee of the International Astronomical Union. He has co-authored leading models for the solar atmosphere, was awarded the Polish government's "Order of Merit", and an asteroid has been named in his honor.

Joseph I. Silk: Dr. Silk is a Professor of both Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1968 he was awarded Harvard's Bowdoin Prize, and in 1970 Harvard's Bok Prize. In 1972 he was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, and in 1975 a Guggenheim fellowship. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the American Physical Society. In 1997 he was made an honorary member of the French Physical Society.

Margaret J. Geller: Dr. Geller is Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University and Senior Scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. In 1990 she received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her video "Where the Galaxies Are" won a CINE Gold Eagle. In 1996 she received the Klopsteg Award of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Michael S. Turner: Dr. Turner is the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor and Chairman of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at The University of Chicago. He is a Fellow and Lilenfeld Prize winner of the American Physical Society and in 1984 was awarded the Helen B. Warner Prize of the American Astronomical Society. He has won the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and has held a One-Man Show at the Center for Particle Astrophysics Art Gallery.

Phillip J. E. Peebles: Dr. Peebles is Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton University. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, the Royal Society, and the Royal Society of Canada. In 1982 he won the Heineman Prize of the American Astronomical Society, in 1995 won the Bruce Medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and in 1998 the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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