February 27, 2017 at 6pm in Rudder Tower 601
About the Talk
The planets, stars and galaxies that fill the night sky obey elegant mathematical patterns: the laws of nature. Why does our Universe obey these particular laws? As a clue to answering this question, scientists have asked a related question: what if the laws were slightly different? What if it had begun with more matter, had heavier particles, or space had four dimensions? In the last 30 years, scientists have discovered something astounding: the vast majority of these changes are disastrous. We end up with a universe containing no galaxies, no stars, no planets, no atoms, no molecules, and most importantly, no intelligent life-forms wondering what went wrong. This is called the fine-tuning of the universe for life. After explaining the science of what happens when you change the way our universe works, we will ask: what does all this mean?
About the Speaker
Luke A. Barnes is a postdoctoral researcher at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy. His university medal from the University of Sydney helped him earn a scholarship to complete a PhD at the University of Cambridge. He has published papers in the field of galaxy formation and on the fine-tuning of the Universe for life. He has been invited to speak at the 2011 and 2015 St Thomas Summer Seminars in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology, the University of California Summer School for the Philosophy of Cosmology, and numerous public lectures. His book with Geraint Lewis, “A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos” is available from Cambridge University Press.