Visiting astrophysicist to discuss ‘Dark Side of the Universe’

Michael Turner

It’s a big universe out there. But what is it actually made of, and is it getting bigger or smaller? Those are just a few of the questions that will be addressed in a free, public presentation scheduled for Jan. 23 at Florida State University.

Theoretical astrophysicist Michael Turner, a professor in the departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics at the University of Chicago, will speak on “Dark Side of the Universe: Beyond Stars and the Star Stuff We Are Made Of.” Turner, who is also president of the American Physical Society, is targeting the presentation toward a general audience — those who have no formal background in science but do have an interest. He offered just a taste of what he’ll be discussing:

“The sky is filled with hundreds of billion galaxies, all lit up by their stars,” he said. However, stars account for less than 1 percent of the material in the universe, and galaxies are held together by a mysterious form of matter — dark matter — that accounts for one-third of the stuff in the universe. The other two-thirds exists in an even more mysterious form — dark energy — which is causing the expansion of the universe to speed up, rather than slow down, and controls its destiny. Though invisible to telescopes, the dark side of the universe has shaped what we see today and controls our destiny.”

The public presentation will be held:


8 P.M.


1115 W. CALL ST.

The next day, Turner will speak again, this time giving a slightly more technical lecture, although still for non-physicists, as part of the university’s Lannutti Lecture Series.

“Deep connections between the very large — the cosmos — and the very small — quarks — have shaped the universe we see today and entangled the agendas of particle physics and cosmology,” Turner said. “I will discuss the present state of cosmology and the big mysteries that point to new physics — dark matter, dark energy, inflation and the baryon asymmetry of the universe — and the prospects for progress.”

The Lannutti Lecture, titled “The Big Mysteries of Cosmology,” will take place:

THURSDAY JAN. 24, 2013

3:45 P.M.



(FSU’s Richards Building is located near West Tennessee Street. The simplest route to the building is to enter campus at Dewey Street, then take an immediate right onto Academic Way and follow it to Chieftan Way. Parking will be available at the parking garage near the College of Medicine.)

Both events are sponsored by the FSU Department of Physics and the Tallahassee Scientific Society.

For more information, contact Todd Adams of the Department of Physics at (850) 644-7159 or