The University of Chicago News Office
March 12, 2004 Press Contact: Steve Koppes
(773) 702-8366

Lecture Series to highlight how scientists determine the age of things

Learn about some of the various methods that scientists used to date past events in a series of free, public lectures at the University of Chicago beginning Saturday, March 27.

The series of 10 lectures, titled “The Age of Things: Sticks, Stones and the Universe,” will be held Saturdays from 11 a.m. to noon beginning March 27 in room 106 of the Kersten Physics Teaching Center, 5720 S. Ellis Ave.

Matthew Hedman, a Research Associate in the Enrico Fermi Institute and a Research Fellow in the Center for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago, will deliver the lectures. His audience will learn how scientists from archaeology, cosmology and other fields examine the many time scales in the history of the universe all the way back to the big bang more than 13 billion years ago.

Hedman received his B.A. in physics and anthropology from Grinnell College in 1996 and his Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University in 2001. He is a member of the CAPMAP project at the University of Chicago, which is an effort to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation, the afterglow of the big bang.

The talks are the 59th series of Arthur Holly Compton Lectures, sponsored each fall and spring by the University’s Enrico Fermi Institute. Compton was a University of Chicago physicist and a Nobel laureate, best known for demonstrating that light has the characteristics of both a wave and a particle. He also organized the effort to produce plutonium for the atomic bomb and directed the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago, where Fermi and his colleagues produced the first controlled nuclear chain reaction in 1942.

The lectures are intended to make science accessible to a general audience and to convey the excitement of new discoveries in the physical sciences. Previous topics have ranged from the smallest fundamental particles to the history of the universe. All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, call (773) 702-7823.
Last modified at 11:47 AM CST on Friday, March 12, 2004.

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