Physical Universe Colloquium Kicks Off New Series at SUNY New Paltz
NEW PALTZ -- Have you ever wondered what the early universe might have looked like? Wish you could see it all laid out on a detailed map? SUNY New Paltz' newest school, the School of Physical Sciences & Engineering, will provide the opportunity to explore these notions at an upcoming colloquium titled "Measuring the Size and Shape of the Universe."
"Since the beginning of civilization, people have wondered about the global structure of the physical universe," said David Clark, mathematics professor and associate dean of the School of Physical Sciences & Engineering. "We are fortunate to be living in a time when the answer to this question is beginning to unravel."
The colloquium will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, in the Coykendall Science Building auditorium, with a reception to follow in the Coykendall lounge.
Last July, NASA launched its Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP), a satellite destined to spend the next few years making a detailed map of a very early universe. An overview of this project and the insights that it might reveal about the size and shape of the universe will be presented at this colloquium by NASA expert Dr. Neil Cornish, an associate professor at Montana State University and an authority on general relativity, astrophysics and early universe cosmology.
Cornish is also a former member of Stephen Hawking's team at Cambridge University in England, and is now part of a small group of NASA theoreticians designing experiments to interpret the MAP project.
"The preservation of our natural environment has become an issue of growing concern as the impact of civilization on our ecosystems has taken an ever-increasing toll," Clark said. "In order to confront environmental problems effectively, we must first understand the scientific mechanisms that underly them."
This is the first in a series of colloquiums the School of Physical Sciences & Engineering has instituted as one means of bringing the entire scientific community together. Each year, the colloquium will consist of four or five lectures by recognized authorities on topics such as "major discoveries and advancements of broad interest to the scientific community and relevant scientific issues for which there is a pressing practical need to gain deeper understanding," said Clark.
The School of Physical Sciences & Engineering -- consisting of the departments of chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, mathematics and physics -- has only recently been developed at SUNY New Paltz under the leadership of its own dean as part of an ongoing realignment of schools at the university. Its dean, John Harrington, leads the school toward its goal of building a center of teaching and research in mathematics and the sciences.
The next lecture in the colloquium series, "Timing is Everything: PCBs & Other Contaminants in the Hudson," will take place on Friday, Nov. 30 at 2 p.m. in Lecture Center 112. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Dr. Richard Bopp, an environmental geochemist who has focused much research on the Hudson River and surrounding waters, will discuss radiochemical dating and illustrate a multi-contaminant, basin-wide perspective on pollution in the Hudson.
For further information on the colloquiums in this series, please contact Clark, chair of the Colloquium Committee, at (845) 257-3728.
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