At the beginning of spacetime following the Big Bang, the universe expanded rapidly. At the end of this period of rapid expansion, the universe was emitting the cosmic microwave background which marks the farthest point our telescopes can see. After cooling and becoming transparent, the universe entered an extended dark age before the formation of the first stars and galaxies.
At our April Café, Dr. Tom Abel will lead a wide ranging discussion on the universe and provide visualizations of the first structures to emerge following the dark ages. He will also address questions like:
- How do stars form and die?
- How many stars helped in making the atoms in your body?
- How about black holes?
- What will happen to the Milky Way?
Dr. Abel is Associate Professor of Physics in the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at both the Stanford University Physics Department and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). His research focuses on supercomputer calculations in cosmological and astrophysical systems. His visualizations and simulations of dark ages events have been featured on PBS and The Discovery Channel and in numerous newspapers and magazines, including the covers of Discover in December 2002 and of National Geographic in February 2003.