Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

May 23, 2003

U of G hosts astrophysics conference

The University of Guelph is hosting the 10th conference on General Relativity and Relativistic Astrophysics May 28-31. More than 80 university faculty and graduate students from Canada and the United States will gather in Room 105 of the MacNaughton Building to hear conference speakers, including acclaimed cosmologist Michael Turner.

Turner, chair of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago, will present his talk, "Understanding the Absurd Universe," May 30. He is known for his work on the elementary-particle theory.

Other invited speakers are McMaster University astrophysicist Hugh Couchman, who simulates the evolution of the universe, and Kayll Lake from Queen's University, who is working on computer algebra systems for general relativity.

"General relativity goes from very ‘math-y' types of researchers who focus on mathematical foundations to astrophysicists who worry about the application of theory to the universe," said U of G physics professor and conference organizer Eric Poisson, who studies gravitational radiation and black holes.

Better telescopes have enabled scientists during the past five years to learn more about what was happening only thousands of years after universe was created, he said. At the same time, new mysteries continue to appear, including why the universe is apparently gaining speed as it expands, contrary to scientists' expectations. "We are still mystified as to what the universe is and how it operates," said Poisson.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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