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Dr. Kenneth Olum, "Fine Tuning in Cosmology"

Date: 10/25/07
Time: 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Audience: Public
Sponsored By: School of Science and Engineering
Cost: free
Location: Coykendall Science Building Lounge and Auditorium
Contact: David M. Clark, x3524, clarkd@newpaltz.edu

Several of the constants of physics and cosmology that govern the physical universe appear to be ``fine-tuned". This means that life as we know it would be impossible if their values were slightly lower or higher than they are. For example, the history and fate of the universe depends critically on its initial rate of expansion. Had it been slightly less, gravity would have collapsed the universe long before life could have evolved. Had it been slightly greater, gravity would not have been able to clump it into galaxies, stars and planets. Dr. Olum, who earned his Ph.D. under Alan Guth -- the founder of inflation theory -- will discuss several of these fine tunings and survey attempts to explain why our universe is or appears to be fine-tuned.