Hunstead Lectures 2019 – The Future of Cosmology
Hunstead Lectures 2019: “The Future of Cosmology” by Nick Kaiser
Nicholas Kaiser is an astronomer renowned for his outstanding research into a wide range of cosmological problems related to the formation of galaxies and large-scale structure in the Universe. He has conducted pioneering work in modelling the galaxy distribution in redshift space and weak gravitational lensing.
His theory and observational techniques for weak gravitational lensing — a method for studying the distribution of dark matter — have changed the shape of modern cosmology. He currently leads the development of Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System), a collaborative research project with the primary aim of detecting potentially hazardous objects in our Solar System.
He has won numerous awards and honours including, most recently, Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (2017) and Gruber Prize in Cosmology (2019) and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2008. He is now professor at École Normale Supérieure in Paris.
Professor Kaiser prefaced this lecture series by saying:
“The format for this series of lectures is a little bit out of the ordinary. Rather than try to give an exhaustive (and exhausting!) survey of modern cosmology, I’m going to hopefully stimulate the audience by posing some puzzles, paradoxes and conundrums that I’ve come across in the process of learning about cosmology. I plan to start each lecture with a light-hearted discussion – hopefully interactive in nature – of the previously posed problems (the audience will be able to choose which). I’ll then expound on some background material in a more formal manner and wind up with some puzzles that will encourage you to think more deeply about the standard lore. I’m pitching this at a level that I hope will be accessible for for physics and astronomy undergrads and graduate students. To “prime the pump” I encourage you to think about the following problem adapted from John Bell’s essay “How to teach special relativity”. Consider a train leaving a station, with identical steady thrust applied to each of the carriages. From the standpoint of a track-side observer the train will become Lorentz-Fitzgerald length contracted as it speeds up, right? But what if it is two trains initially nose to tail. Both of the trains will presumably become contracted. The question is this: does a gap develop between the two trains? or do they remain nose-to-tail?”
Slides and videos of the lectures are available in the links below.