January 24, 2007
Cosmologist Andrei Linde to deliver public talk at space symposium
Cosmologist Andrei Linde, a Stanford physics professor, will deliver a free public lecture, titled "The Origin and Fate of the Universe," at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, in the Arrillaga Alumni Center. His talk headlines the first international symposium focused on the scientific investigations enabled by the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) mission, scheduled to launch in fall 2007 from Kennedy Space Center. From its eventual orbit 330 miles above Earth, the telescope will help scientists better understand the high-energy universe, including black holes, gamma-ray bursts, pulsars, cosmic rays, supernova remnants and relics left over from the Big Bang.
"Andre Linde is one of the principal architects of the inflationary theory of the origin and evolution of the universe," says GLAST Large Area Telescope (LAT) principal investigator Peter Michelson, a Stanford physics professor with an appointment at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). "This is the leading theory that successfully accounts for the fluctuations seen in the cosmic microwave background. These fluctuations in the early universe lead to the structures, stars and galaxies that we observe today."
The symposium, to be held Feb. 5-8 at Stanford, is expected to attract about 500 scientists. Registration is required for the symposium but not for the public talk. To register, go to http://www.register123.com/event/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x2281915dca.
"GLAST is an important step in the quest to understand black holes and neutron stars, the most extreme objects in the universe," Michelson said. "GLAST will also search for evidence of the nature of the dark matter that makes up most of the matter in the universe."
The space telescope will probe extreme environments and cataclysmic events in the universe with a 3,000-kilogram primary instrument, the LAT, which will detect gamma rays up to 100 million times more energetic than the average dental X-ray. GLAST also will sport a smaller instrument, called the GLAST burst monitor, to detect lower-energy gamma-ray eruptions.
GLAST is a collaboration of about 150 researchers supported by NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and international institutions. SLAC, a DOE laboratory operated by Stanford, manages the development of the LAT. LAT collaborators include NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center; Stanford's W. W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory; the University of California-Santa Cruz; the University of Washington; Ohio State University; the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.; Italy's INFN (particle physics organization) and ASI (space agency); France's IN2P3 (particle physics organization) and CEA (atomic energy agency); and institutions in Japan and Sweden. Burst monitor collaborators include NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and the Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik in Garching, Germany, with Charles Meegan of MSFC as principal investigator. For a complete list of GLAST collaborators, see http://glast.stanford.edu/.
"We at Stanford are delighted to host the scientists from all around the world who have worked so hard on GLAST," says SLAC and physics Professor Roger Blandford, director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. "Everyone is excited about the discoveries it should make."
The event is free to press, but registration is required. A photo of Linde is available on the web at http://newsphotos.stanford.edu/.