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Masterclass: Journey through space and time

Astronomy is as old as humanity itself. However, it is only in the last 100 years that we have begun to understand the Universe in scale, age and complexity, including the discovery in 1929 that the Universe is expanding.

Growing up in Montana and Alaska USA, Professor Brian Schmidt immigrated to Australia in 1994 to work at the Australian National University’s Mt Stromlo Observatory in Canberra.

At ANU, leading a team of scientists from around the world, Professor Schmidt used telescopes to observe exploding stars called supernovae to trace cosmic expansion back in time. In 1998, to great surprise, Professor Schmidt and his team discovered that the expansion of the Universe had been speeding up over the past eight billion years, a discovery that indicates that 70% of the Universe is made up of ‘dark energy’. Join Professor Schmidt on an exploration of the Universe.

By observing supernovae that exploded billions of years in the past, we can unveil the future of cosmic expansion. Join me as I shine a light on the expansion of the universe.

Nobel Laureate, Professor Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor and President The Australian National University.

Video: 31 minutes 20 seconds

About the academic presenter

Nobel Laureate, Professor Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor and President The Australian National University

Professor Brian Schmidt is one of Australia's most eminent scientists and winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, alongside many other academic awards and distinctions. Professor Schmidt spent most of his academic career as an astrophysicist at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics before becoming Vice-Chancellor at ANU. 

In 1998, under Professor Schmidt’s leadership, the High-Z Supernova Search team made the startling discovery that the expansion rate of the Universe is accelerating. Recognised as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the United States Academy of Science and the Royal Society, Professor Schmidt was also made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2013.