Cal Poly Pomona

Physics Seminar

Friday, November 17, 2006

From the Infinitesimally Small to the Infinitely Large: Mankind's Search for Understanding of the Universe Around Him

Lee Schumann

Aerospace Corporation

Our understanding of the physical world is rooted in our every day experiences.   Our senses are familiar with space-time scales in terms of distances in inches, up through miles, in terms of time in seconds, up through years.   In reaching for better insight, modern physics delves into space-time beyond our every day experience...into the microscopic worlds of atomic, nuclear/elementary particle physics with their Angstrom spatial scales and picosecond time scales, and into the world of astronomy and astrophysics with their seemingly infinite space-time scales where distances are measured in parsecs and time in millions & billions of years.   Scientists formulate unique theories relating their discoveries in these realms to our everyday experience.   For the microscopically small realms of atomic, nuclear, and elementary particles come theories of, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and special relativity.   Associated with very large space-time scales of astronomy and astrophysics come the theories of general relativity and quantum gravity.   In this presentation we will take a brief look into the world of space and time beyond our every day experience...quite literally as far as the eye can see.

In the past exploring the large space-time scale of the universe has been limited by the need to look through the earth's atmosphere.   The Hubble Space Telescope is the first large aperture window on the universe which is not limited by metaphorically "looking through the fog" of the earth's atmosphere. We will use this tool to explore the universe on a scale large compared with our everyday experience.

Refreshments at 4:00 PM. Seminar begins at 4:10 PM.
Building 8 (Science Bldg.) - Room 241
For further information, please call (909) 869-4014

Last modified on September 19, 2006
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