University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
April 7, 2011
Contact: Renee Paul, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6640

Renowned Astrophysicist to Speak at USA


Theoretical astrophysicist Michael S. Turner, director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago, will present two lectures on Thursday, April 14.

Turner’s first lecture, “Cosmic Acceleration and Dark Energy,” will begin at 3 p.m.  His talk will review the present status of the mystery of cosmic acceleration, which is the observation that the expansion of the universe is speeding up.  Refreshments will be served at 2:45 p.m.

His second lecture, “How Many Universes?” will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Life Sciences Lecture Hall, Room 3.  It explores the development of knowledge and understanding of the extent of the universe in both space and time.  The talk will end with speculations about the multiverse and its philosophical implications.  The presentation is supported by the American Astronomical Society.  Refreshments will be served at 7:15 p.m.

Turner is the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. A native of Los Angeles, Turner attended public schools, received his bachelor of science and master of science degrees from Caltech and his doctorate from Stanford. He also holds an honorary doctorate in science from Michigan State University. He helped to pioneer the interdisciplinary field of particle astrophysics and cosmology, for which he shared the 2010 Dannie Heineman Prize, and with Edward Kolb initiated the Fermilab astrophysics program, which accounts for about 10 percent of the lab’s activities.
Turner also led the National Academy study “Quarks to the Cosmos,” which laid out the strategic vision for the field. Turner’s scholarly contributions including predicting cosmic acceleration and coining the term dark energy, showing how quantum fluctuations evolved into the seed perturbations for galaxies during cosmic inflation, and several key ideas that led to the cold dark matter theory of structure formation. His honors include the Warner Prize of the American Astronomical Society, the Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society, the Klopsted Award of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Heineman Prize (with Kolb) of the AAS and American Insitute of Physics and the 2011 Darwin Lecture of the Royal Astronomical Society. Turner’s former Ph.D. students hold faculty positions at leading universities around the country, at national laboratories and on Wall Street. He has served as chief scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, assistant director for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the National Science Foundation, chair of the department of astronomy and astrophysics and president of the Aspen Center for Physics. Turner’s recent national service includes membership on the NRC’s Astronomy Decadal Survey and Board on Physics and Astronomy, and membership on the NASA Advisory Committee and on the senior editorial board of Science magazine. Turner is currently chairman of the board of the Aspen Center for Physics, a director of the Fermi Research Alliance and a member of the governing board of the National Academy of Sciences. Turner was elected to the presidential-line of the American Physical Society in 2010 and will serve as its president in 2013.

Sponsored by USA’s department of physics, the lectures are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact the department of physics at (251) 460-6224.


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