2018 Talk Archive

February – Magnetars: Nature at its Extremes

February 2nd, 2018 – 8:00PM
Panel Members: Dr. Robert Archibald
MP 202 (60 St. George Street)

Magnetars are some of the most extreme objects in the known universe. Though small in size, they possess the strongest magnetic fields in the universe and are the densest objects known. In this talk, we’ll go over the incredible behaviour seen in these rare objects – from tiny explosions to outshining the rest of the X-ray sky combined.

March – Cold out there, eh? The Climates of Alien Worlds

March 1st, 2018 – 8:00PM
Panel Members: Adiv Paradise
MP 202 (60 St. George Street)

A central question for humanity has long been “are we alone, and what is our place in the universe?” This fundamentally human question has motivated much of astronomy. The recent discovery of a plethora of exoplanets has raised the tantalizing possibility that we might start to answer that question. Searching for alien communications and chemical signatures of life represent two approaches to answering that question-but a third option also exists. Studying the climates of exoplanets and looking for surface conditions similar to those on Earth is a promising way of assessing habitability. In this talk, we will explore both the possibilities and complexities of studying alien climates, and in the process perhaps learn something about ourselves.

May – Simulating the Universe

May 3rd, 2018 – 8:00PM
Panel Members: George Stein
MP 103 (60 St. George Street)

The life of a single galaxy is an extremely complicated affair, and understanding the origin and evolution of the roughly 100 billion galaxies in our universe is even more so. But, through heroic telescope surveys and state-of-the art computer simulations cosmologists have been progressing on this problem at an ever increasing rate. In this talk I will discuss current efforts to create realistic galaxies using some of the largest super computers on the planet, and will show what these simulations mean for future observations. Along the way I will discuss the key telescopes that have allowed us to observe 500 million of these galaxies already and the ambitious future projects that will observe billions more, all to unravel the mysteries of our cosmos.