The Surprising Expansion History of the Universe - watch the Lecture by Nobel Laureate Astrophysicist Adam Riess

We had the honor of hosting Adam Riess, one of the recipients of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, as a guest in the Ceremonial Hall of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, where he not only presented the story of his groundbreaking discovery that stirred the scientific community, but also talked about the far-reaching consequences of it in astrophysics. The video recording of his lecture is available in our article.

2023. április 20.

Since Edwin Hubble's discovery in 1929, we have known that the universe is expanding, and eighty years later, it was revealed that the rate of expansion is accelerating. This surprising result was such a significant milestone in astrophysics and cosmology that it was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011.

In a See our photos of the event herejoint organization by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, we had the privilege of hosting one of the three laureates, Adam Riess, for a lecture and a few questions in the Ceremonial Hall of the Academy. Adam Riess, who beside the Nobel Prize and numerous other recognitions has a truly stellar citation index. Also, he is an excellent speaker.

Adam Riess attempted to measure the rate of expansion of the universe through the study of Type Ia supernovae, and he did so at the most opportune moment in the history of astronomy. It was in the early 1990s that the Hubble Space Telescope began its operation, and its images provided an unprecedented amount and quality of data on supernovae in distant galaxies. Thus, as a research group leader, Adam Riess was able to publish his groundbreaking discovery at the age of only 28, the consequences of which astrophysicists are still trying to digest.

And the consequences are numerous and far-reaching. The accelerated expansion must have a cause, and the current physical models describing the universe cannot really say anything about this cause. Most researchers believe it to be some form of "dark energy" that acts against gravity. Measurements and calculations indicate that this dark energy accounts for about 70% of the total energy content of our universe. The theorists, together with the designers and users of instruments exploring space, need to pursue the trail of this problem. We can learn a lot about their prospects from Adam Riess's lecture, the recording of which can be seen below.