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8th Kaczmarczik Lecture

"Our Cosmic Habitat"

Martin Rees
Astronomer Royal, Great Britain
Royal Society Professor, Cambridge University

Thursday, November 7, 2002
3:30 p.m.

Main Building Auditorium
3141 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Martin Rees In recent years, our concept of the cosmos has advanced rapidly. We now know that many other stars are orbited by planets: our Solar System is not unique, and there may be many other locations where life exists. On a larger scale, our telescopes can probe galaxies so far away that their light has taken billions of years travelling towards us. Just as Darwinism gave us a picture of how our biosphere has evolved from simple beginnings on the young Earth, so cosmologists can trace the origin of planets, stars and atoms right back to a genesis event -- the big bang -- about thirteen billion years ago. This progress discloses new interconnections between the very large and the very small -- between the 'inner space' within atoms and the 'outer space' of the cosmos. And new issues come into sharper focus. What is the future of life, here on Earth and perhaps beyond? Can we understand the basic physical laws, and how they have allowed a simple big bang to evolve into something as complex as the cosmic habitat of which we are part?

Martin Rees has been, since 1992, a Royal Society Research Professor, and a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. His research interests are cosmology, astrophysics and space science. He studied mathematics at Cambridge. After fellowships in the UK and US, he became a Professor at Sussex University, and later at Cambridge where he was, until 1992, Director of the Institute of Astronomy. He belongs to the US National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy, and several other foreign academies. His awards include the Bower Prize for Science of the Franklin Institute. He was President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1994-95. He has lectured and written widely, both for specialist and general audiences. His general books include "Gravity's Fatal Attraction" (with M Begelman), "Before the Beginning," "Just Six Numbers" and, most recently "Our Cosmic Habitat."

High School Open House Program:

12:30 - 1:00 p.m. Main Building Auditorium
1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Department of Physics Open House

Brief presentations on Biophysics, Astrophysics, Computational Physics, Condensed Matter, Nonlinear Dynamics, Particle Physics, etc. An excellent opportunity for high school students to visit our laboratories and meet in person with our internationally recognized researchers.

3:00 - 3:30 p.m. Reception

About the Kaczmarczik Lecture

Paul Kaczmarczik began his career as a Professor of Physics at Drexel University in 1953. A key player in building the Physics and Atmospheric Science Department, he made important contributions to teaching at Drexel University during his many years of service. Well-liked by both his colleagues and his students, Professor Kaczmarczik became Professor Emeritus in 1989. The Kaczmarczik Lecture Series was established in 1995 in honor of Professor Kaczmarczik. It brings to Drexel outstanding scientists to present lectures on topics at the cutting edge of Physics research.