Astrophysicist to discuss age, size of universe at Bates

Robert Kirshner, professor of astronomy at Harvard University and an associate director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, will discuss “The Universe: Old, Expanding, Accelerating?” at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, in Room 204, Carnegie Science, Bates College. The public is invited to attend without charge.

Kirshner’s recent work on the acceleration of the universe was dubbed the “1998 Science Breakthrough of the Year” by Science magazine. The author of more than 200 research papers on supernovae, the large-scale distribution of galaxies and the size and shape of the universe, Kirshner was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998. He was featured in an October 1998 Boston Magazine article on “Nutty Professors” for his vivid teaching of “Matter in the Universe,” a core-curriculum course for 250 Harvard undergraduates.

Kirshner graduated from Harvard College in 1970 and received a Ph.D. in astronomy at Caltech four years later. After postdoctoral research at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, Ariz., he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan for nine years before moving to Harvard’s astronomy department in 1986. He served as chairman of the department from 1990 to 1997.

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