Universe

How did the universe begin? What are its constituents? 

In this video, James Colin Hill, Friends of the Institute Member in the School of Natural Sciences, explores these questions and discusses recent challenges and controversies that...

“How big” is almost always an easier question to answer than “how old.” Though we can measure the sizes of animals and plants easily enough, we can often only guess at their ages. The same was long true of the cosmos. The ancient Greeks...

The image taken of the total solar eclipse of May 29, 1919, was among Albert Einstein’s possessions when he died in 1955, then Professor Emeritus in the School of Mathematics. The image, taken by astronomer Arthur...

Light is the great unifier. John Wheeler, the beloved Princeton physicist, used to draw the universe as a big capital U with a little eye on one leg, signifying that we, human beings, are the eyes of the universe looking back at...

In the public lecture “The Latest News from the Cosmos,” Matias Zaldarriaga, Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, explores the most detailed map of the infant universe to date. Publicly released on March 21, 2013, the...

Until a couple of decades ago, the only planets we knew existed were the nine in our Solar System. In the last twenty-five years, we’ve lost one of the local ones (Pluto, now classified as a “minor planet”) and gained about three thousand...

In this lecture, given at a Friends Form held at the Institute on May 11, 2011, Marilena LoVerde, Member in the School of Natural Sciences, explains theories of evolutionary history of the universe and how...

Why is the expansion of the universe speeding up, instead of being slowed by the gravitational attraction of galaxies and dark matter? What is the history of the Milky Way galaxy and of the chemical elements in its stars? Why are the planetary...