Instant Expert: Frontiers of Cosmology

Mar 26, 2022 · London, United Kingdom
A one-day masterclass for anyone interested in cosmology, whatever your age or background, to learn directly from the experts.

New Scientist presents ...

Instant Expert: Frontiers of Cosmology

Albert Einstein's space-and-time-warping theories of relativity have revolutionised our view of the cosmos over the past century.

At this event, six expert speakers will guide you on a 13.8-billion-year journey through the cosmos. On the way you’ll learn what happened at the big bang and the nature of the universe’s missing 95%. You’ll look at some of the mysteries still surrounding black holes, find out what gravitational waves tell us about the history of the universe, and understand why physicists see a need for a quantum theory of gravity.

Hosted by physicist and New Scientist Executive Editor Richard Webb, our one-day masterclass offers the chance to learn directly from the experts in the fascinating fields of cosmology and relativity.

Topics covered will include:

  • The big bang
  • Dark matter
  • Dark energy
  • Black holes
  • Gravitational waves
  • Quantum gravity

Talks and speakers:

What happened at the big bang?

This talk is a grand tour of why we think the universe began in a big bang. The session will explore the latest thoughts about what exactly happened 13.8 billion years ago; what the big bang “means” in general relativity; why we can’t directly observe it; what cosmic inflation is and its problems leading to multiverses; and possible alternatives to inflation.

The mystery of dark matter: seeing the invisible with Alexandra Amon, Cambridge University

Throughout history, the Universe has turned our grandest thoughts upside down. Now, we have evidence that galaxies are like icebergs: the stars we can see are only a small fraction of whats there. In fact, most of the cosmos is dark: dominated by dark matter yet it is invisible. It is cornerstone to our Standard Model of Cosmology, which can remarkably describe a plethora of cosmological observations. In this talk, Alexandra will look at why cosmology needs” dark matter; how we might learn more using a technique called weak gravitational lensing.

Dark energy and the Hubble tension

This talk will explain where the need for a mysterious ingredient accelerating the universe’s expansion comes from; what we do and don’t know about what dark energy might be, or what else might cause the effect we interpret as dark energy; and perhaps introduce the idea of the Hubble tension, why our measurements of the universe’s expansion don’t seem to add up, and what that might mean. Alternative theme is to look solely at Hubble Tension.

Inside black holes with Ricarda Beckmann, University of Cambridge

Black holes are some of the most extreme objects in the universe. Despite being no bigger than our solar system, they can weigh more than a small galaxy and decisively shape the evolution of their entire host galaxy. In this talk Ricarda will review what makes a black hole a black hole and how we’ve come to realise something very like them exists in different sizes throughout the cosmos. She will then explore why the universe would not look the same without black holes, and highlight some of the remaining mysteries surrounding these fascinating objects.

What gravitational waves tell us about the universe with Alberto Vecchio, Birmingham University

Gravitational waves were first detected by LIGO in 2015. This detection marked the beginning of a new era in astronomy. Gravitational-wave explorations of the universe are opening new horizons and may eventually lead us to 'listen to the sound-track' of the infant universe. In this talk Alberto will discuss what we have learnt so far about the some of most violent phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars, and why gravitational waves may be the means to unveil some of the best guarded secrets of the universe. During the talk Alberto will also discuss progress to deploy even more revolutionary gravitational-wave observatories in the next decade, such as a 1 million-km arm interferometer in space (LISA), whose observations will surely challenge yet again our understanding of the cosmos.

Quantum gravity with Eugene Lim, King’s College London

Quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of gravitation are two pillars that underpin much of theoretical physics today. The problem is that they don’t seems to be consistent with each other, and thus a unified theory of quantum gravity is not yet within our grasp. In this talk, Eugene will tell you why this is such a hard problem to crack.

Hosted by Richard Webb, New Scientist Executive Editor

Who should attend?

Anyone interested in the cosmology, whatever your age or background. Whether you're a scientist, a student or simply a fascinated human being, Instant Expert: Frontiers of Cosmology offers the chance to learn directly from the experts at our one-day masterclass.

Benefits of attending:

  • Become an expert in one day
  • Informal set-up, meet like minded people
  • Open your mind, be inspired
  • Unique chance to ask your burning questions to our experts

What's included in your ticket:

  • In-depth and engaging talks from six leading physicists
  • Ask-an-expert Cosmology Question Time session
  • Your chance to meet our six speakers and host Richard Webb
  • Buffet lunch, plus morning and afternoon refreshments
  • Exclusive Instant Expert certificate
  • Exclusive on-the-day New Scientist subscription deal, book and merchandise offers

Booking information:

The event will be held in The Knowledge Centre at The British Library.
Doors will open at 9:15am, with talks commencing at 10am sharp. The event will finish at 5pm.
We require the name of each person attending - please ensure this is provided at the time of booking. If you need to change the name of an attendee, please notify us as soon as possible:
Eventbrite will email you your ticket(s) immediately after purchase. Please remember to bring your ticket(s) with you as you'll need it to gain entry. We can scan tickets from a print out, or off the screen of a phone / tablet / smartwatch.
The ticket price includes a buffet lunch, as well as morning and afternoon refreshments.
The schedule / exact running order for the day will be confirmed closer to the event, and will be emailed to all ticket holders.
Should you require details about disabled access, please contact us at:
Tickets are non-transferable to any other New Scientist event.
All tickets are non-refundable. If the event is sold out and you can no longer make it then we may be able to offer your ticket(s) to someone on the event waitlist and provide you with a refund. Please email us at asap to notify us. We will deal with all such requests in the order received, although we offer no guarantee that we will be able to sell you ticket onto someone on the waitlist.
New Scientist reserves the right to alter the event and its line-up, or cancel the event. In the unlikely event of cancellation, all tickets will be fully refunded. New Scientist Ltd will not be liable for any additional expenses incurred by ticket holders in relation to the event.
Tickets are subject to availability and are only available in advance through Eventbrite.
A limited number of discounted early bird tickets priced at £129 have been made available, saving £20 on the full ticket price of £149. Tickets can be purchased by following the green "Buy" button at the top of this page, if still available.

COVID-19 measures

Please be assured that New Scientist are committed to providing a safe and secure environment at all our in person events. We are following Government Guidance and are closing monitoring the situation as it develops. The guidance we have set out below is correct at the time of publishing and we will ensure it is in line with the guidance at the time of the event.

Anyone accessing the event site is required to have proof of either:

  • A full course of vaccinations – the second being at least 2 weeks previously
  • A negative lateral flow test, taken within the 48 prior to attending the show – you can order these free from:
  • Natural immunity, which is defined as a positive PCR test within the last 180 days but access will only be allowed after a minimum 10-day isolation period since the positive test.

Face coverings

In England, face coverings are now required by law and you must wear a face covering whilst in the venue.

Event organizers
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