Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Museum of London

A Fossil from the Big Bang

Professor Joseph Silk FRS

Professor Joseph Silk describes what we have learned about the earliest moments of the Universe from the Cosmic Microwave Background.

Speaker_JosephSilk_370x370.jpg

Gresham Professor of Astronomy, Joseph Silk FRS, is a research scientist  at the Service d’Astrophysique, CEA, Saclay and the Institut d’Astrophysique, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris,  Homewood Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and Senior Fellow in the Beecroft Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at the Department of Physics, University of Oxford. He is a leading expert on the early Universe, a Balzan Prize winner and one of the world’s most sought-after science communicators.

A graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, Professor Silk was a postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge and Princeton before joining the University of California, Berkeley, where he remained for the next three decades, eventually as Professor of Astronomy and Physics. He was Savilian Chair of Astronomy at the University of Oxford from 1999 to September 2011. He started his current positions of Professor of Physics and Astronomy with the Johns Hopkins University in 2010, and Professor of Physics at the Institut d’Astrophysique at UPMC in 2011.

Professor Silk is one of the world’s leading experts in theoretical cosmology, dark matter, galaxy formation and cosmic microwave background. He conducted important early work on homogeneities in the cosmic microwave background and how they are influenced by density fluctuations in the matter of the early universe, in particular by a damping effect that has become known as “Silk damping”. He has also made pioneering advances in understanding the nature of dark matter, and explored novel indirect methods for its detection which have inspired large-scale experiments with newly-developed telescopes. Professor Silk’s studies of galaxy formation and his work on the dynamics of mass loss and the feedback mechanisms from star formation and evolution formed a highly significant basis for subsequent work in this important field. In 2011 he won the Balzan Prize for this pioneering work on the infant universe.

Having delivered some of the most important invited astronomy lectures around the globe and with over 500 publications to his name, Professor Silk is one of the world’s foremost science communicators. His books include: The Big Bang, Horizons of Cosmology, The Infinite Cosmos, On the Shores of the Unknown, A Short History of the Universe and Cosmic Enigmas.

Appointed Gresham Professor of Astronomy in 2015, Professor Silk will deliver series of lectures, entitled The Biggest Questions in the Universe, on aspects of astronomy and cosmology which he believes will offer new insights into contemporary investigations into the nature of the Universe, its formation and phenomenon.

Current Gresham Professor of Astronomy

Read More
Read Less
Related Future Lectures
Related Past Lectures
WATCHED
Part of a series

Watching the Heavens: Astronomy and the Meaning of Life

Professor Alister McGrath
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Half a Century of Heart Transplantation

Professor Martin Elliott
Wednesday, 29 November 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

How Special Is Our Universe?

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 6 December 2017 - 1:00PM
WATCHED

The eXcrement Factor: The Natural History of Dung

Professor George McGavin
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Clockwork God: Isaac Newton and the Mechanical Universe

Professor Alister McGrath
Tuesday, 23 January 2018 - 1:00PM
WATCHED

Here Comes The Sun: Sunshine and its Effects on Health, Sleep and Memory

Professor Steve Jones
Wednesday, 24 January 2018 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Maths Goes Into Space

Professor Chris Budd OBE
Tuesday, 14 November 2017 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Organic Food: Rooted in Lies?

Professor Carolyn Roberts
Thursday, 9 November 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

What is Value in Healthcare?

Professor Martin Elliott
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Are We Alone In The Universe?

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Are Science and Faith at War?

Professor Alister McGrath
Tuesday, 3 October 2017 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Cleaning Up The Thames: Success or Failure?

Professor Carolyn Roberts
Thursday, 28 September 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Existential Risks in the Solar System

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 4 April 2018 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Elementary Particles and Their Interactions

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 28 February 2018 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The High Energy Universe

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

How Special Is Our Universe?

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 6 December 2017 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Are We Alone In The Universe?

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

How Were The Stars Formed?

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 - 1:00PM
WATCHED

What is it about Cocaine that makes it addictive?

Dr William Harrop-Griffiths
Monday, 6 February 2017 - 1:55PM
WATCHED

The Role of Collaboration in Nature and its Link to Success

Professor Steve Jones
Tuesday, 31 January 2017 - 6:59PM
WATCHED

The Offspring of Semi-Female Mimics in Ruffs

Professor Steve Jones
Tuesday, 31 January 2017 - 6:58PM
WATCHED

What Is The Advantage To The Flowers That Are 'Orchid-Mimics'?

Professor Steve Jones
Tuesday, 31 January 2017 - 6:56PM
WATCHED

An Interesting Fact About Female Swordtail Fish

Professor Steve Jones
Tuesday, 31 January 2017 - 6:55PM
WATCHED

The Sideways Motion of a Ponytail

Professor Raymond E. Goldstein
Wednesday, 9 November 2016 - 6:58PM