FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    Date: March 10, 2003

  Contact: Charles Schweighauser, 206-6721


Leading astrophysicist to lecture at UIS


SPRINGFIELD Dr. Michael S. Turner, one of the world’s leading astrophysicists, will speak on “The Dark Side of the Universe” at 7 p.m. Friday, March 28, in Public Affairs Center conference room F at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

This free public program is presented as part of the ongoing Shapley-Barber Lecture Series, made possible through the Harlow Shapley Lectureship Program of the American Astronomical Society and the Henry Barber Memorial Fund for Astronomy at UIS.

Weather permitting, the lecture will be followed at 8 p.m. by one of UIS’ popular Friday Night Star Parties in the campus observatory.

Turner is a pioneer in the interdisciplinary area where particle physics and cosmology intersect and The Early Universe, which he co-wrote with Edward Kolb, who has also lectured at UIS, has become the standard text in the field. His current research focuses on testing the “expanding universe” theory and searching for a fundamental understanding of dark energy.

Charles Schweighauser, UIS professor of astronomy and physics, explained, “Turner’s work deals with the earliest moments of the universe and exploits the deep connections between elementary particles and cosmology.”

Schweighauser added, “Dr. Turner will also discuss the recent results of WMAP, the satellite which confirmed many of our ideas about the universe, as well as firmly fixing the age of the universe at 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang.”


Turner is presently on the faculty of the University of Chicago, where his positions include Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor; chair of the Department

of Astronomy and Astrophysics; member of the Department of Physics, Enrico Fermi Institute; and associate director, Center for Cosmological Physics.

The author of more than 300 scientific papers, Turner was one of the three “most-cited” astrophysicists in the world, 1981-1997.

He also serves as chair-elect of the Physics Section, American Association for the Advancement of Science; was a founding member of the NASA/Fermilab Astrophysics Center, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; and has been a visiting member at Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge University, England.

Dr. Harlow Shapley, who died in 1972, was one of the leading astronomers of the 20th century. Director of the Harvard University observatory and chair of Harvard’s astronomy department, Shapley is perhaps best known for his work in mapping galactic clusters and the position of the sun in our own galaxy.

For more information, contact Schweighauser at (217) 206-6721.