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Thursday, March 23, 2023

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When the Modern Universe Began

This year's John D. Schopp Memorial Lecture explores "The Lights of Cosmic Dawn" on March 25.

This year's 2011 John D. Schopp Memorial Lecture, "The Lights of Cosmic Dawn," will be presented by Alan Dressler, astronomer with the Carnegie Institution for Science. The lecture hosted by the SDSU Department of Astronomy takes place 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 25, in GMCS-333.

Dressler's lecture will explore the modern universe began — when the first stars and quasars, or ravenous black holes, began to flood the darkness.

This "first light" appeared a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, but some of it arrives at Earth every day — 14 billion years later. Amazingly, the largest telescopes and most sensitive instruments allow astronomers to see back to this beginning, but the view is dim and difficult.

Dressler will describe what we have seen, and what the prospects are for the future, with more ambitious telescopes and new techniques.

About Dressler

Dressler received his bachelor's degree in physics in 1970 from the University of California, Berkeley, and his doctoratal degree in astronomy in 1976 from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His primary professional interests lie in cosmology, birth and evolution of galaxies, astronomical instrumentation and extragalactic astronomy.

In 1983, Dressler received the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in Astronomy from the American Astronomical Society. He was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in the field of astronomy in 1996. In 1999, he received the Public Service Medal from NASA.