Department of Astronomy Center for Radiophysics & Space Research

The Triumph of Cosmic Order

1Wednesday, Oct. 1
Bruce Balick
Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall

Order -- like time, somehow always in short supply -- provides the structure and predictability that makes our short lives manageable.  The Universe is different.  Order has been relentlessly overtaking chaos endless course of time (thanks to the universal laws of physics).   We live in an cosmic epoch characterized by order: from the initial cosmic soup galaxies, stars, planets, and life have condensed.  We shall explore the many striking and ubiquitous forms of cosmic structure through the march of time using new images from the Hubble Space Telescope and other space-borne facilities.  Yet the present cosmic order is a deceptive guide to the future since it is really a tense and constantly evolving compromise among the Law of Gravity that formed the structures, the Second Law of Thermodynamics that assures the dominance of entropy, and the Uncertainty Principle that limits the longevity of all material objects.  We shall peer into the major cosmic changes that await our descendants over the next trillion years.