Half of the starlight in the Universe is hidden from visible telescopes, having been quenched by fine clouds of dust particles in interstellar space. This missing energy reappears in the infrared and terahertz regions of the spectrum, and can only be studied fully from spaceborne observatories. Now thanks to a series of international space observatories this hidden Universe has been fully revealed. The data from these telescopes reveal new classes of objects and phenomena, including the discovery of the most luminous and active star-forming galaxies in the Universe. These objects provide glimpses into the early history of galaxies like our own, and new insights into the star and galaxy formation processes that shaped the Hubble sequence.
The lecture highlighted what has been learned from the infrared observations, and previewed anticipated results from the Herschel Space Observatory, which was scheduled for launch in April 2009.
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At the time of the lecture, Prof. John Zarnecki was a Professor of Space Science (now Emeritus) at the Open University, having previously been a professor and researcher at the University of Kent.He is now Director of the International Space Science Institute in Berne, Switzerland.
Professor Genzel is the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching and a Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley. His research career includes world-leading discoveries spanning the physics of star formation, active galactic nuclei, black holes and galaxy dynamics. He is also an acknowledged expert in the development of innovative astronomical instrumentation for the world's largest telescopes.
The lecture covered recent advances in our understanding of the geometry of the Universe and their implications for the eventual fate of the Universe. The observational foundations of this work comes from new, high-quality maps of the Cosmic Microwave Background, large-scale redshift surveys of the local Universe and studies of Supernovae at high redshifts. Prof. Efstathiou discussed the theoretical implications of these new discoveries on models of the growth of structure in the Universe and the properties and nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy.
Prof. Efstathiou is a world expert in theoretical and observational cosmology. His research career includes the development of the Cold Dark Matter model of the growth of structure in the Universe and his recent work deals with the measurements of the fundamental structure and evolution of the Universe from large scale galaxy surveys and the Cosmic Microwave Background. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1994 and currently holds the Chair of Astrophysics and the Directorship of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University.