I Met Alex Filippenko

At Saturday, I went to a lecture in University of Delaware. There, Dr. Alex Filippenko (the dark energy guy) lectured on the supernova research and how it led two teams to conclude that there was something in the universe called dark energy, which was causing the universe to expand. The lecture I attended is pretty much the same as this one, but being there personally and asking questions is an experience, all right? During questions, I asked about the big rip, which had a quiet an entertaining response of everything being ripped. Also, there was also an interesting fact that came out of the questionings. One of many evidence that the accelerated expansion is happening is the fact that when a photon enters a galaxy cluster, it has a certain energy. Well, when it comes out, it has a higher energy because basically, the particle is falling in the cluster. But as it goes out, the universe is expanding, and so the gravity becomes weaker and the particle manages to escape the gravity well easier.

Seeing a scientist speak is pretty exciting for me. It is somewhat different. When he answers questions, it feels a bit like getting an answer from a fortune teller behind a crystal ball, with knowledge mysteriously coming out of some secret vault centuries old, with experience beyond his ages. I guess this is how all experts of their fields feel like when they speak. Of course, the difference is that fortune tellers are fakes, and the way knowledge is obtained is not mysterious at all. It is science, folks. And he happens to know a lot about cosmology. Oh, plus, he happens to tell pretty funny jokes during the lecture. I love all of his puns, like: Maybe they (referring to the galaxies getting farther away from the Milky Way) are lactose intolerant? Get it? Milky Way? Lactose Intolerance? *sting punch line* I guess we are one step closer to living in a world where people don’t have to apologize for their puns, whether lame or not. Yay! (more pun appreciation, people!)

I recorded some of what I attended, although I got to tell you, I am so shaky it pretty much sucks (part one below, btw, didn’t have enough space for all of the lecture):

In the end, I got to meet with the lecturer and asked him if I could take a picture for the blog. For my admiration to him and blogosphere domination, if you must ask why. He was generous enough to allow me to do it. And considering all of the autographs he was writing, I felt like I was being somewhat annoying. So, thank you, Dr. Filippenko! So here it is:


I wonder if there is a chance we might intersect when I become an astronomer myself.


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