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Public invited to cosmic tour of universe Dec. 5
University of Chicago events to observe Chicago Festival of Maps

Nov. 29, 2007

University of Chicago cosmologists Rocky Kolb and Michael Turner will conduct a cosmic magical mystery tour from Chicago to the edge of the visible universe from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5., at the Art Institute of Chicago. The free event will take place at the Art Institute’s Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr. and is sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Festival of Maps Chicago.

The cosmic tour of the universe will include virtual visits to observatories around the globe and interviews with leading scientists from the University of Chicago who are mapping the dark matter that holds galaxies together and discovering the nature of the dark energy, which pulls space apart. The event is part of the Festival of Maps Chicago, a citywide celebration of humanity’s greatest discoveries and the maps that record its boldest explorations.

“In addition to discussing the science, we will highlight the scientists who are mapping the universe in one way or another,” said Kolb, the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics. “We have an incredibly active group of scientists who go out from their offices in Hyde Park to look for dark matter and dark energy in places as diverse as Chile, Antarctica, Fermi National Acceleratory Laboratory, and Chicago’s Deep Tunnel. This program allows us to give the public an insider’s view of what it’s all about.”

The list of guest scientists includes James Cronin, co-recipient of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physics, and Young-Kee Kim, the Deputy Director of Fermilab.

Program Highlights and Special Guests

I.  Luminous Matter

  • Joshua Frieman, Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics and a member of Fermilab’s Theoretical Astrophysics Group.
  • Michael Gladders, Assistant Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
  • Andrey Kravtsov, Associate Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

II. Dark Matter

  • Young-Kee Kim, Deputy Director of Fermilab and Professor in Physics.
  • Juan Collar, Assistant Professor in Physics.

III. Dark Energy

  • Clem Pryke, Assistant Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

IV. Cosmic Rays

  • Lucy Fortson, Senior Research Associate in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
  • James Cronin, University Professor Emeritus in Physics.

V. Finale & Sharing Art/Science Connections (all)

Event Details

What: Cosmic Cartography Journey through the Universe
Hosts: Professors Rocky Kolb and Michael Turner in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Chicago
When: 7-9 p.m. Wednesday December 5, 2007
Where: The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, East entrance, 230 S. Columbus Dr., Chicago

Admission is free. For more information, see

Other Festival of Maps Chicago events sponsored by the University of Chicago Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics:

December 3-6:
Cosmic Cartography: Mapping the Universe from the Big Bang to the Present: This four-day scholarly, scientific conference is about the role of maps and mapping in the development of our understanding of the universe. The conference explores the challenges of making and using maps for astronomy and cosmology on scales ranging from the galaxy to the visible universe. Registration required at Gleacher Center, 450 N. Cityfront Plaza Dr., Chicago, 312-464-8787.

December 7-9:
Chicago Maps the Cosmos: A cosmology Short Course for Museum & Planetarium Staff: An intensive, three-day, short course that will highlight cartography on the grandest scales: mapping the cosmos. This course is designed for museum and planetarium staff to help them incorporate current cosmological research into their programming and exhibits. (Application Required. Registration Full.) Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, 5640 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago, 773-702-8212,

January 12:
Mapping the Heavens: The Universe Revealed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey – Joshua Frieman, Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics. In this full-dome multimedia presentation, Frieman will describe the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the most ambitious 3D map of the universe ever constructed. With Adler astronomer Mark SubbaRao, Frieman will take the audience across hundreds of millions of light years, exploring this vast survey that is shaping the scientific understanding of how the universe has evolved from its earliest moments. Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, 312-524-2424,

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Last modified at 11:38 AM CST on Thursday, November 29, 2007

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