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Carl Sagan Day- Cosmology Today: Big Experiments, Big Business, Big Science (Grand Rapids)

November 9, 2011
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Organized by:
Jennifer Beahan
Phone: 616-698-2342 x801
Email: jbeahan@centerforinquiry.org


Join us for a lecture by Dr. Douglas Furton as part of our celebration of Carl Sagan Day.

Cosmology is the study of the Universe as a whole, its origin, the general nature of space and time, here and now, and the Universe’s ultimate fate. Every human culture and civilization that has ever developed on Earth has established, or at least contemplated, matters of cosmology. But what’s the point? Of all philosophical, scientific and religious endeavors that are far removed from the demands of everyday life, cosmology must be among the most distant.

Yet cosmology peaks the interest of just about anyone who has ever had some small amount of time to contemplate a look to the heavens. Carl Sagan is more eloquent (in his book Cosmos): “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation of a distant memory, as if we were falling from a great height.”

Cosmology was once only in the preview of thinkers, philosophers,… priests; however now, cosmology is within reach of mathematicians, theoretical physicists and even experimentalists.

In the 21st century, cosmology is Big Science. Join us to learn about the newest and most modern cosmology experiments underway today and consider how the results of these experiments are testing some of our fundamental notions of the Universe.

Meetings are open to the Public. A moderated discussion will follow the lecture.

After the meeting, join us at Vitale’s Restaurant, 834 Leonard NE, Grand Rapids, MI to socialize. View Map

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About Douglas Furton, PhD

Professor of Physics, Grand Valley State University

Doug Furton is a Professor of Physics at Grand Valley State University, where he has taught physics and astronomy classes and has introduced students to the joys and sorrows of scientific research since 2002. Prior to coming to GVSU, Prof. Furton was an Associate Professor of Physics at Rhode Island College, in Providence, RI. Dr. Furton earned his Ph.D. degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Toledo, in Toledo, OH, in 1993. Prof. Furton’s interest in research began in graduate school when he studied carbonaceous interstellar dust grains observationally and experimentally. More recently, Prof. Furton has combined his interests in “ham” radio and astronomy by establishing an Internet-accessible radio telescope at the Stephen F. Wessling Observatory in Fremont, MI, with support from GVSU and the Newaygo County Dark Sky Astronomers. He also wrote a column for several years about backyard astronomy and space-science current events for the Grand Haven Tribune. He recently published a book entitled Glimpses of our Universe – he will have copies of the book available for purchase at the lecture. Doug Furton lives in Grand Haven with his wife Anne Marie and son Simon.