Wednesday, April 06, 2005

People Love Cosmology

I finished my Frontiers of Science talk a couple of hours ago. Apart from a few AV hassles at the beginning, things went very well and I had another very positive experience talking to the general public about science. My audience consisted of university students, local people interested in physics and a set of high school students brought to the lecture by their teacher. There were 45 minutes of questions at the end, ranging from general ones about the nature of dark matter and dark energy to one very specific question about Calabi-Yau manifolds. In general, people seemed to get the point about the connections between cosmology and particle physics. I decided not the give them this bad news.

In part of my talk I discussed the contributions that the soon-to-be-euthanized Hubble Space Telescope has made to modern cosmology. Interestingly enough, at the end two women came up to talk to me. They were the mother and grandmother of one of our students and, it turns out, the wife and mother of the launch director of the Hubble mission. They said it was great to finally understand why what he did was useful. Never mind, we appreciate him!
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