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SMP 3/17/12 | Cosmic Engines: The Complex Evolution of Galaxies | Speaker: Brian Nord Jr.

Saturday, March 17, 2012
4:00 AM
170 & 182 Dennison Building

Speaker: Dr. Brian Nord Jr., Research Fellow (UM Physics)

In his second lecture, Dr. Nord discusses galaxies, which are the building blocks of our universe's cosmic web. They are held together by invisible dark matter, house supermassive black holes in their cores, and act as homes to solar systems like our own. With such diverse aspects, the evolution of galaxies is a very complex process: it includes periods of passive growth, as well as epochs of turbulent upheaval. Moreover, the energy released by a galaxy often affects the environment far outside its confines -- potentially shutting off life in neighboring galaxies. Many complex systems are hard to understand, because physics at small scales strongly impacts physics are larger scales. Using both simulations and observations, Dr. Nord tells the tale of a galaxy's life, from birth to death; and discusses parallel scientific challenges that are closer to home, like the exploration of Earth's climate change.