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Public lecture at UC Riverside to discuss origin and fate of universe

RIVERSIDE, Calif. Current findings on how the universe began and evolved will be discussed in a free public lecture at UC Riverside.

Bahram Mobasher, a professor in UCR's Department of Physics and Astronomy, will present results from the search for the first generation of stars and galaxies, formed 13 billion years ago when the universe was one percent of its present age.

His talk, titled "Let There Be Light: The First Billion Years," will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 28, in the University Lecture Hall on campus.

The hour-long talk and question-and-answer session is open to the public. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m., with open seating.

"We are lucky to be living at a time in history when scientists' discoveries are fundamentally revolutionizing our view of the universe," Mobasher said. "These questions have occupied human minds for centuries and we are only now finding the answers."

The trip back in time from the first fraction of a second of the life of the universe to its evolution to the present time and its eventual fate will include the Hubble Space Telescope's deepest image of the universe ever taken and how scientists use this image to pinpoint distant regions of the universe. Mobasher will describe dark matter and dark energy, the invisible material and force that together form 96 percent of the content of our universe. He also will discuss scientists' future plans to understand the remaining mysteries of the universe.

Mobasher studies the formation and evolution of galaxies using ground based telescopes, as well as space observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope. He uses redshift, a change in light's visible wavelength caused by the expansion of the universe, to measure distances to galaxies.

Mobasher obtained his Ph.D. in observational cosmology from the University of Durham, United Kingdom. He is a co-investigator with the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS), leading parts of this project. In addition, he is one of the founders and leaders of the Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS) projects, which is the largest single project performed on the Hubble Space Telescope and probes the formation and evolution of galaxies as a function of cosmic time.

"The talk on May 28 is particularly timely, given the recent launch of the space shuttle to perform the final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope and the launch of two other satellites in the same week to observe the beginning of the universe and study obscured galaxies," Mobasher said.

His talk is being hosted by UCR's College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and the Science Circle, a group of university and community members committed to advancing science at UCR and in Inland Southern California.

The talk is the last of five lectures scheduled this year. The lecture series, titled "The Science of Evolution: Life, the Earth, and the Universe," aims to boost the public's awareness and understanding of how science works and break down some of the misunderstandings about what scientists do.


Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside

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