Institute of Advanced Studies

A public lectue by Peter Quinn


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WA on the threshold - new understanding, new discoveries and new opportunities with the SKA

An Inquiring Minds lecture by Professor Peter Quinn, Director of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)

Peter QuinnMankind’s understanding of Nature is now at a point of crisis. More than 95% of the Universe we live in is composed of mysterious stuff - matter that is hidden from the view of our telescopes and a form of energy that is tearing the Universe apart. Our two most successful theories of Nature - the theory of atoms and the theory of Gravity - cannot together describe the Big Bang which formed the Universe 13.7 billion years ago. We need a new idea, a new concept that will provide us with a consistent picture of the evolution of our Universe and its contents. New ideas flow from discoveries. Our ability to explore, and map and make discoveries within our Universe is about to be exploded by more than a factor of 10,000. The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope will revolutionize our view of the Universe. It will push the boundaries of our knowledge back in time to the formation of the first stars and galaxies. It will also push the boundaries of our technology and will provide new industrial, educational, scientific and technological opportunities in the 21st century.

Peter Quinn is Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at The University of Western Australia and Director of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR). Professor Quinn has held postdoctoral appointments at the California Institute of Technology and the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute. In 1989 he took up a Research Fellowship at ANU to lead the Australian involvement in the MACHO Dark Matter Search Project. He was awarded a NASA High Performance Computing and Communications Grand Challenge Award in 1992 for his work. Professor Quinn’s research has resulted in more than 300 publications and he has been recognized as an ICI highly cited researcher with a special focus on computational cosmology and dark matter research.In 1995 Professor Quinn took up the position of Division Head of the Data Management and Operations Division at the European Southern Observatory in Munich. In 2005 Professor Quinn was awarded a Western Australian Premier’s Fellowship. He was named WA Scientist of the Year in 2012 and was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2013.

ICRAR LogoThis lecture is co-sponsored with the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and the Institute of Advanced Studies at UWA.

ICRAR is a centre of research excellence and a joint venture of Curtin University and UWA. As a growing hub for scientific discovery ICRAR has brought together the best scientists, engineers and ICT experts from around the world to help pave the way for, and do research with, the next generation of radio telescopes.

4 November 2014