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K-State Today

November 5, 2019

Physics lecture today to highlight subject of 2019 Nobel Prize in physics

Submitted by Kim Coy

Bharat Ratra, university distinguished professor of physics, will present a nontechnical special lecture highlighting cosmology, the area covered by half of the 2019 Nobel Prize in physics. The lecture, "The Accelerating Expanding Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and Einstein's Cosmological Constant, or Why Jim Peebles was Awarded Half of the 2019 Physics Nobel Prize," will be at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in 102 Cardwell Hall.

Half of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics was given to Peebles for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology. Laureate Peebles and Ratra, a former postdoctoral fellow who worked with Peebles, introduced the first dynamical dark energy model in 1988. The two published several papers together.

Ratra will describe the astronomical data, which persuade cosmologists that — as yet undetected — dark energy and dark matter are by far the main components of the energy budget of the universe at the present time. He will review how these observations have led to the development of a quantitative "standard" model of cosmology that describes the evolution of the universe from an early epoch of inflation to the complex hierarchy of structure seen today.

Ratra will also discuss the basic physics, and the history of ideas, many developed by Peebles, on which this model of cosmology is based.

This lecture will be of interest to all students, faculty and staff, regardless of physics background knowledge. Refreshments will be served before the lecture at 4:15 p.m. in 119 Cardwell Hall.