The End as envisioned by Dr. Chris Impey

The American Astronomical Society, Okanagan College, and the Okanagan Science Centre presented Dr. Chris Impey and the Harlow Shapley lecture on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in the Vernon Kalamalka campus main lecture theatre.

With a musical subtext, this talk explored endings, from the proximate to the distant. Humans are unlikely to be exempt from the extinction that has been the fate of all species on Earth, but we hope that it will not be by our own hand. Eventually, whatever life is found on Earth will be faced with the decay of the biosphere and the death of the Sun. On even longer timescales, the lights will go out in the cosmos as all stars are extinguished. The final curtain comes with the evaporation of black holes and the decay of space-time itself.

 Dr. Chris Impey is Deputy Head of the Astronomy Department at the University of Arizona. He has been the recipient of eleven teaching awards there and is the youngest person ever to be awarded the position of University Distinguished Professor at Arizona. In 2002, he was named the National Science Foundation Distinguished Teaching Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation, and in 2005 was selected a Galileo Circle Scholar, the College of Science’s highest honor. Impey has had fourteen projects approved for observations with the Hubble Space Telescope. He has written over 160 research papers and currently works on quasars and distant galaxies. He is co-author of Astronomy: The Cosmic Journey and The Universe Revealed and author of The Living Cosmos. He served as vice president of the American Astronomical Society. He lives inTucson,Arizona.

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