Public Lectures

Ever wonder what goes on at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory? The SLAC Public Lecture Series is your chance to find out! The evening lectures highlight the cutting-edge science happening at the laboratory. From the nanotechnology of diamonds to the latest Higgs Boson discoveries, SLAC public lectures provide non-scientists with a unique insight into the workings of our universe.

Scheduled Lecture

The Tug of War that Shapes the Universe

Justin Myles ,
Thursday, September 30, 2021 5:00 pm
Public Lecture poster: picture of the universe

Join us on Zoom (passcode 650650)

The lecture is one hour, followed by Q&A.

As the universe expanded from the Big Bang, regions where the density of matter was higher than average grew into galaxies and clusters of galaxies. The overall form of the universe and the evolution of galaxies within it have been shaped by a delicate balance of two competing forces – the inward gravitational pull of matter, dominated by dark matter, and the outward stretching of space, controlled by a mysterious force called dark energy.  In this lecture, I will describe how we can gain an understanding of these hidden elements by measuring the properties of galaxies and the web of structure they form. The Dark Energy Survey (DES) has done this for one-eighth of the sky, observing and measuring more than 100 million galaxies. I will illustrate how we use DES images of this huge number of galaxies to trace the growth of structure and measure the expansion of the universe under the influence of its dark components.

About the Speaker:
Justin Myles

Justin Myles is a PhD candidate in physics at Stanford University with a focus on astrophysics and cosmology.  Justin’s research uses observations of the largest structures in the universe – galaxies and clusters of galaxies ­– to understand its past and future development.  He is a member of the Dark Energy Survey collaboration that has collected detailed images covering a large swath of the sky from a telescope in Chile. Using the data from these images of galaxies and the hot clouds of gas in which they are often found, Justin is working to extract the basic parameters governing the expansion of the universe.

Public Lecture Highlights

Learn more about the work that we do by watching from our collection of popular recordings from our YouTube Playlist that highlights the breadth of our research.

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Presenter: Brian Lantz


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Dark Matter: Detecting Gravity's Hidden Hand

Dark matter is one of the most mysterious components of the universe.

Presenter: Tom Shutt


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Viewing the Beginning of Time from the Most Remote Places on Earth

Shortly after the birth of the universe, space was filled by a plasma that was literally red-hot.

Presenter: Zeeshan Ahmed


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Catalysis: the Hidden Path to Foods, Fuels and Our Future

The high standard of living we enjoy today is made possible by catalysts ­– behind-the-scenes agents that promote chemical reactions in the vast majority of industrial processes, including production of fertilizers, gasoline and other essential products.

Presenter: Simon Bare