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Thursday   Nov 17:   Sculpting the Universe   8 PM   Since 2004, Dr. David Weinberg of Ohio State University has been collaborating with MacArthur-award winning artist Josiah McElheny on the design of cosmologically inspired sculptures, which represent the history of the expanding Universe and the formation of structure within it.

He will describe these sculptures, which include the nature of cosmic expansion, the transition from an opaque Universe to a transparent Universe, the formation and clustering of galaxies and quasars, the seeding of cosmic structure by primordial fluctuations in the early Universe, and the possibility that our observable cosmos is only an “island” in a larger multiverse.”

Thursday      Dec 8:  The Violent Lives of Cluster Galaxies    8 PM  Dr Chris Mihos of Case Western Reserve University     Rather than being strewn randomly across the Universe, galaxies tend to cluster together into croups and clusters containing hundreds or thousands of galaxies.  The life of these galaxies can be quite violent:  collisions and mergers act to shred stars from their parent galaxies, transform galaxies from spiral to elliptical types, and create massive galaxies that live at the heart of the cluster.

Over the past several years, CWRU astronomers have been using the university’s wide-field Burrell Schmidt telescope, located atop Kitt Peak, AZ, to search for signatures of these processes in the nearby Virgo Cluster of galaxies.

Dr Mihos will describe how this ultra-deep imaging is being used in concert with supercomputer simulations to study the evolution of galaxies in clusters.



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