The Future of our universe:
from The 21st century to the end

Astronomy of the 21st Century Distinguished Speaker Series
Fred C. Adams, Physics Department, University of Michigan
1800 Dow Chemistry Building, 930 N. University Ave. [ Parking Suggestions ]
Friday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Stop by the Science Learning Center, 1720 Dow Chemistry Building, prior to the lecture from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. for refreshments and an open house with demonstrations on astronomical phenomena.

Lectures are followed by telescope viewing at the Angell Hall Observatory.

This talk describes our current picture for the long term fate of the cosmos. We discuss the evolution of planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe itself over time scales that greatly exceed the current age of the universe. The story begins with the effects of accelerated cosmic expansion, which causes every galaxy cluster to become its own island universe in the ``near'' future. Next we discuss stellar evolution with a focus on the development of the most common, low mass stars. After accounting for the end of conventional star formation, we find the distribution of stellar remnants -- the neutron stars, white dwarfs, and brown dwarfs remaining after stellar evolution has run its course. In the resulting darkness, star formation continues at a highly attenuated rate through brown dwarf collisions. This process tapers off as the galaxy loses its stars, primarily by ejection through scattering encounters. As the galaxy disperses, weakly interacting dark matter particles are accreted by white dwarfs, where they annihilate and keep the old stellar remnants ``warm.” After the demise of the galaxy, the expelled degenerate objects (primarily white dwarfs) evaporate through the decay of their constituent nucleons. After these stellar remnants have disappeared, the black holes are the brightest astrophysical objects, slowly losing their mass as they emit Hawking radiation. After the largest black holes have evaporated, the universe slowly slides into darkness.

Or does it?

Born in Redwood City, California, Fred Adams received his undergraduate training in Mathematics and Physics from Iowa State University in 1983 and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988. For his Ph.D. dissertation, he received the Robert J. Trumpler Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. After serving as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, he joined the faculty in the Physics Department at the University of Michigan in 1991.

Professor Adams works in the general area of theoretical astrophysics with a focus on star formation and cosmology. He is internationally recognized for his work on the radiative signature of the star formation process, the dynamics of circumstellar disks, and the initial mass function for stars. His recent research in this area includes studying the effects of cluster environments on the star formation process and studies of extra-solar planetary systems. In cosmology, he has worked on the inflationary universe, cosmological phase transitions, magnetic monopoles, cosmic rays, the structure of dark matter halos, and the cosmic background radiation fields. His work in cosmology also includes a continuing study of the long term fate and evolution of the universe and its constituent astrophysical objects.

Professor Adams is a recipient of the Helen B. Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society, and a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award. In addition, he has been awarded both the Excellence in Education Award and the Excellence in Research Award from the College of Literature, Arts, and Sciences at the University of Michigan. In 2002, he was given The Faculty Recognition Award from the University of Michigan, and, in 2007, he was elected to The Michigan Society of Fellows.

Parking suggestions:

Parking for this event can be found at the Palmer Structure or the Forest Street Structure (in the areas that are shaded red). The map below is a quick visual reference for where these structures are. More information is available at U of M's Parking and Transportation Services website.

Presented by the Department of Astronomy, the Exhibit Museum of Natural History, and the Student Astronomical Society, and sponsored by the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics, the University Activities Center, and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.







© 2009 Regents of the University of Michigan
Winter 2009 Theme Semester is co-sponsored by the Department of Astronomy
and the Exhibit Museum of Natural History
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