Universiteit Leiden

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Lezing | Oort lecture

Do we have a standard model of cosmology?

  • George Efstathiou
maandag 6 mei 2024
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden
Groot Auditorium

Deze lezing is in het Engels

Do we have a standard model of cosmology?

The origin and evolution of galaxies are two of the most actively researched areas in astrophysics. At present, the Lambda Cold Dark Matter model of Cosmology is the golden standard for our understanding of the origin of the Universe. But does this model actually give an accurate representation?

In the 34th Oort Lecture, Professor George Efstathiou will take you on a journey to how the Lambda Cold Dark Matter model came to be and what we have learned from it. He will also give his take on what the future will bring. Does he expect a new paradigm shift in cosmology any time soon?

After the lecture you are welcome to have a drink at the borrel in the Academy Building.

Registration is needed if you want to attend this lecture at the Academy Building in Leiden. The lecture will also be live streamed. To receive the link you need to register, as well.
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LCDM model

Since the mid-90s the Lambda Cold Dark Matter (LCDM) model is considered the explanation of how the universe evolved from its initial hot, dense state following the Big Bang to its current large-scale structure. It also predicts its future expansion and eventual fate. Throughout the years, different astronomical observations continued to support the model. These new measurements have even led to very precise parameters of the model, most of which are now constrained below 1 percent uncertainty.

But a question of critique against the model remains: how accurate is it given that its three key ingredients – inflation, cold dark matter and dark energy – are not understood at a fundamental level?

About the speaker

George Efstathiou earned his Ph.D. in Astronomy from Durham University in 1979, launching a stellar career trajectory. He honed his expertise through prestigious postdoctoral roles at the universities of California and Cambridge. Leading the charge in Astrophysics, Efstathiou served as Head of Astrophysics at Oxford University from 1988 to 1994 before returning to Cambridge. Since 2004, he has helmed the Institute of Astronomy as Director, steering groundbreaking research initiatives. Notably, Efstathiou blazed trails as the inaugural Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at Cambridge. 
His stellar contributions have garnered widespread acclaim, earning him prestigious accolades such as the Maxwell Medal and Prize from the Institute of Physics, the American Institute of Physics Heineman Prize for Astronomy (shared with collaborator Simon White), the Gruber Cosmology Prize, and the esteemed Gold Medal in Astronomy from the Royal Astronomical Society.

Oort lecture: a more than 30 year old tradition

The yearly Oort lecture, in memory of the famous Dutch astronomer, is organized by the Jan Hendrik Oort Foundation and the Leiden Observatory. The Oort lecture is intended for a wide audience with an interest in astronomy and is given every year by a prominent astronomer. This lecture will be the 34th edition.

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