Speaker series unravels the mysteries of the universe

York University scientists will share secrets of the universe, a vast and mysterious place that pushes the boundaries of imagination, at the Faculty of Science and Toronto Public Library speaker series titled, Chronicles of a Peculiar Universe.

These public talks, which are free and open to the public, will run from Oct. 11 to Nov. 14. The presenters, who are some of Canada’s most accomplished experienced and new space researchers, will cover just about everything related to the mysteries of the universe, from quasars and dark matter to the possibility of life on another planet.

  • Quasar, Quasar, Burning Bright: Oct. 11, from 6:30 to 7:30pm, at the Danforth/Coxwell Branch, Faculty of Science Professor Patrick Hall will explore Quasars. The brightest objects in the universe, quasars contain rotating disks as big as the solar system that is home to Earth, and are hotter than the Sun. He will explain how quasars are formed and explore how these mysterious entities tap into the strong gravity of black holes.
  • How to Get to Mars: Oct.12, from 6:30 to 7:30pm, at the Lillian H. Smith Branch. For decades, NASA has been sending unmanned orbiters, landers and rovers to Mars and other planets within the solar system for research and exploration. Each of these robotic probes provides a window into these strange new worlds. In this talk, Lassonde School of Engineering Professor John Moores will provide an overview of the past, present and future of planetary exploration missions.
  • The Social Habits of Galaxies: Oct. 17, from 7 to 8pm, at the S. Walter Stewart Branch and Nov. 16, from 7 to 8pm, at the Don Mills Branch. Most galaxies enjoy the company of other galaxies and organize into various shapes known as the “cosmic web.” Many of them also like to spin and this creates beautiful discs of stars and gas. York PhD student George Conidis of the Faculty of Science, will examine copies our own galaxy, including The Milky Way and its friends, to better understand the social habits of disk galaxies and how they spin.
  • The Secrets of Our Dark Universe: Nov. 11, from 2 to 3pm, at the Brentwood Branch. Most of the universe is made up of dark matter and dark energy, but so far scientists have had a hard time detecting or explaining these celestial phenomena. York PhD student Alexandra Terrana of the Faculty of Science will explore some of the big open questions in cosmology, what dark matter and energy are, and how an alternative theory of gravity might solve these mysteries.
  • Is Anyone Home?: Nov. 14, from 6:30 to 7:30pm, at the Barbara Frum Branch. Since 1995, thousands of planets have been detected orbiting other stars. Many of these worlds could possibly contain liquid water and even life. In this talk, Professor Paul Delaney of the Faculty of Science will describe our current understanding of exoplanets and will offer an overview of the ongoing search for new planets and the implications associated with the for the search for life.

For more information on these public talks, visit the Chronicles of a Peculiar Universe website.