A public lecture by Dr Simon Mitton
The German existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger rated the question “Why is there something rather than nothing” as the most fundamental issue in philosophy. There is a cosmological variant of this question of existence: “Why is there structure in the universe and from what does it arise?”
This conundrum is central to the history of cosmology, and the search for the answer has been a prime mover in leading us successively to the discovery of the Big Bang, hidden dark matter and mysterious dark energy.
This non-technical public lecture reviews the history of attempts to understand the mechanics and structure of the universe from antiquity to the present. The talk will recount the astonishing progress of understanding the origin, evolution, and architecture of the universe.
Dr Simon Mitton is a Fellow of St Edmund's College who has written widely on astronomy and cosmology. He is the biographer of the famous Cambridge cosmologist Sir Fred Hoyle. He recently completed a book on the history of attempts to understand why the universe has structure, and this will be published by Princeton University Press in autumn 2011.