MELBOURNE, FLA.— Florida Institute of Technology associate professor of space and sciences Eric Perlman will speak at the university’s next Astronomy and Astrophysics Public Lecture Series on April 22. The free lecture titled, “Is Spacetime Foamy? Using Astronomical Observations to Probe the Structure of Our Universe,” will be held on campus at the F.W. Olin Engineering Complex Auditorium, Room EC118, at 8 p.m. If weather permits, the lecture will be followed by a roof-top public star viewing.
The structure of our universe is probed only on the largest of scales where galaxies, quasars and clusters of galaxies that mark the location of the largest mass concentrations in the universe are seen. Astronomers observe variations in the Cosmic Microwave Background that mark the locations where clusters of galaxies later formed.Surprisingly little is known on much smaller scales. There is also little significant knowledge about the history of fundamental constants throughout cosmic time. The best and in some cases, the only way to probe some of these subjects is through astronomical observations to capitalize on the long path length traveled by the light.
Perlman will review the history of using astronomical observations to probe fundamental constants and the universe’s structure. In particular, he will explore whether the fine structure is constant, which affects the structure of atoms and their interactions, or is variable in time. He will also discuss whether spacetime itself has a foamy structure that might indicate the presence of extra dimensions.
The F.W. Olin Engineering Complex is located on West University Boulevard. For more information, call (321) 674-7207or visitwww.fit.edu/aapls.