Q Skeptics tonight! Monday 24/09/2012

Astrophysics II
Progress has been made in the last year or so since Tamera last spoke to us. The Higgs Boson is more or less established and the Nobel Prize has been shared by two astrophysicists and an astronomer. Adam Riess, Saul Perlmutter and Brian Schmitt were involved in a mighty battle to understand the skies. Supernovae (standard candles) had to be found in bulk that would establish the dimensions of the Universe. And yes, the expansion is accelerating.

And yes, the story of the race is a quite a read.

Swirling galaxies would fly apart were it not for the gravity of dark matter and dark energy holding them in. The establishment of the Higgs doesn’t change much ‘physics’ that hadn’t already been speculated but it does validate a whole lot of sums related to the Big Bang.

Skeptical Content: The motion of galaxies may be driven from the outside in, not the inside out so a galaxy may be forced together rather than be restrained from flying apart. Still dark matter and energy will be involved (what else?) but it might scotch this clunky idea of some matter being attractive and repulsive at the same time. (Like most of us) And whatever happened to the neutrino? Perhaps anything that ephemeral doesn’t matter much when it comes to large lumps of gravity!

Dr Tamara Davies

The Redbrick Hotel
Cnr Annerley and Stephens Rd, Sth Brisbane
Monday 24 September 2012
6pm dinner 7:30pm meeting