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Dark Energy and the Fate of the Universe: Sonke Hee

Astrophysics is the study of everything in the universe, from all the beautiful images taken by the Hubble space telescope to solar system formation and exoplanets. Cosmology, on the other hand, is the study of the whole universe as one self-contained system. We can pose questions asking: 'How old is the universe?' — 'What is the universe mostly composed of?' — 'How is the universe changing?'

In this talk we quickly zoom through the astrophysics landscape to understand what a cosmologist might be concerned about when answering these questions. We introduce dark matter in galaxies and it's necessity when looking at the behaviour of the universe. Then, through the study of Einstein's theory of relativity, we contrast this to what dark energy is and its effect on the universe, and find ourself able to answer the question of, 'What is the fate of the universe?'


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Presented at Churchill College, 4 February 2016.