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Astrophysicist to headline RFO fall speaker series


Talk on the physical origin and nature of dark energy (not PG&E)

The Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO) has announced that Dr. Alex Filippenko, professor of Astronomy at UC Berkeley and one of the world’s most frequently cited astrophysicists, will headline RFO’s Fall Speaker Series with a talk on the physical origin and nature of dark energy. Dr. Filippenko will discuss the research and subsequent discovery that the expansion of the universe is speeding up with time rather than decelerating.

Dr. Filippenko is the only person who was a member of both the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-z Supernova Search Team, which used observations of distant exploding stars (Type Ia supernovae) to discover the accelerating expansion of the universe and the implied existence of dark energy, ultimately leading to a Nobel Prize in Physics for the teams’ leaders. The discovery was also voted the top science breakthrough of 1998 by Science Magazine and honored with the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

“We are thrilled to have such an important player in the world of astrophysics take part in our new annual Speaker Series,” says Chris Cable, executive director of the RFO. “We are honored that he is taking time out of his busy schedule for what is sure to be a memorable evening for our members and guests.”

The talk will happen on Friday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Piner High School Performing Arts Center in Santa Rosa.