Bampton Lectures in America

Wendy Freedman: The 37th Bampton Lectures in America

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 to Thursday, April 14th, 2011

We recommend that you RSVP below but it is not necessary. You are welcome to register at the door as well.
RSVP here

Map to Schapiro Hall

You may enter Columbia’s campus from the West 116th Street gates (at
Broadway) or 120th Street gates, which will remain open until 8:30pm.

Wendy FreedmanA series of lectures by Wendy Freedman, Director of the Carnegie Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Since the completion of the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project, Freedman has studied the behavior of supernovae to better determine the nature of the mysterious cosmic phenomenon known as dark energy, which appears to play an essential role in the rate at which the universe is expanding. Freedman has also further refined the Hubble constant and is spearheading the effort to construct the 25-meter class Giant Magellan Telescope.
The Size and Age of the Universe
Tuesday, April 5, 7pm
Hayden Planetarium
American Museum of Natural History
79th Street and Central Park West 

[Note: The entrance will be the Rose Center, Planetarium entrance located on 81st Street between CPW and Columbus. The doors will be open at 6:30pm.]

Our visible universe contains about 100 billion galaxies like our own Milky Way, all taking part in a colossal expansion of space. I will describe the discovery of galaxies and the expansion of the universe by astronomer Edwin Hubble, how astronomers measure the vast distances to galaxies, and the use of the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the size and age of the universe.

The 37th Bampton Lectures in America series and Dr. Freedman will be introduced by the Provost of Columbia University,Claude M. SteeleProvost Steele is the twenty-first Provost of Columbia University, as well as a Professor of Psychology.


[download podcast]

Much More Than the Eye Can See
Thursday, April 7, 6:30pm
Davis Auditorium, Schapiro Hall
Columbia University, 530 West 120th Street

How do we know how much matter there is in the universe? “Weighing” galaxies and galaxy clusters, astronomers have learned that there is much more matter in the universe than simply the luminous matter that we see. Seeking the nature of this dark matter, astronomers have ruled out ordinary stars, planets, rocks, gas, black holes as the source. Active searches for this dark matter are underway around the world.

Professor Wayne Proudfoot will introduce and moderate Dr. Freedman’s lecture, “Much More Than the Eye Can See.” Wayne Proudfoot is a Professor of Religion, specializing in the philosophy of religion and is the acting Chair of the Columbia Department of Religion.


[download podcast]

A Runaway Universe
Tuesday, April 12, 6:30pm
Davis Auditorium at Schapiro Hall
Columbia University, 530 West 120th Street

The universe is accelerating! Surprising observations have shown that not only is the universe expanding, but it is speeding up with time. The “dark energy” that is driving this acceleration dominates the overall density of mass and energy of the universe. Consistent with a prediction of Albert Einstein’s, Einstein nonetheless rejected it. But he may have been right after all.

Professor David J. Helfand is a Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University, as well as the Chair of the department. His research interests include the origin and evolution of neutron stars and supernova remnants, active galactic nuclei and the X-ray background, and large-scale structure and AGN in radio surveys.


[download podcast]

Giant Telescopes of the 21st Century
Thursday, April 14, 6:30pm
Davis Auditorium at Schapiro Hall
Columbia University, 530 West 120th Street

An on-site closing reception will immediately follow this lecture.

Telescopes are our window to the universe. Exciting new astronomical discoveries are enabled by new technology — larger telescopes and more sensitive detectors. From the time that Galileo first turned his telescope to the sky over 400 hundred years ago to the present, we have continued to change our perception of the universe we live in. Dr. Freedman will describe this history, and ambitious giant telescopes now in the planning stages.

Moderated by Professor Jacqueline van Gorkom, Professor of Astronomy. Professor van Gorkom main interest is in the Structure and Evolution of Galaxies, and more specifically in the role of gas in galaxy evolution.


[download podcast]


Past Bampton Lectures in America

  • 1948 — Arnold J. Toynbee: The Prospect of the West Civilization
  • 1949 — Paul R. Hawley: New Discoveries and Their Effect
  • 1950 — Charles H. Dodd: Faith and Ethics in Early Christianity
  • 1951 — Lewis Mumford: Art and Technics
  • 1952 — James B. Conant: Modern Science and Modern Man
  • 1953 — Alan Gregg: Where Medecin Belongs Today
  • 1954 — John Baillie: The Idea of Revelation in the Light of Recent Discussion
  • 1955 — Lionello Venturi: Four Steps toward Modern Art
  • 1956 — Joel H. Hilderbrand: Science in the Making
  • 1957 — Brock Chisholm: The Expanding Conception of Health
  • 1958 — Eric Lionel Mascall: The Importance of Being Human
  • 1959 — Sir Anthony Frederick Blunt: The Art of William Blake
  • 1960 — Detlev W. Bronk: The Status of Science in Modern Society
  • 1961 — W. Barry Wood, Jr.: From Miasmas to Molecules
  • 1962 — Paul Tillich: Christianity and the Encounter of the World Religions
  • 1963 — Northrop Frye: The Development of Shakespearean Romance
  • 1964 — Fred Hoyle: Man and the Universe
  • 1965 — Robert Hanna Felix: Mental Illness: A Yielding Enigma
  • 1966 — Alasdair MacIntyre: The Dispute about God: Victorian Relevance and Contemporary Irrelevance
  • 1966 — Paul Ricoeur: Religion, Atheism and Faith
  • 1968 — Sir John Summerson: Victorian Architecture: Four Studies in Evaluation
  • 1969 — Jaco Bronowski: Magic, Science and Civilization
  • 1975 — Paul Ramsey: Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine
  • 1976 — Symposium: Titian, His World and His Legacy
  • 1980 — Symposium: Bernini and the Baroque
  • 1982 — Anthony Kenny: Faith and Reason
  • 1983 — Steven Weinberg: On the Art of Science
  • 1984 — William Arrowsmith: Innovation and Tradition in Euripides
  • 1986 — Zellig Harris: Language and Information
  • 1987 — Peter Brown: Poverty and Power in the Later Roman Empire
  • 1988 — Robert C. Gallo: Old Plagues and New Pandemics: Microbe Hunting Revised
  • 1990 — Annemarie Schimmel: Yusuf's Fragrant Shirt: Images in the Phenomenology of Islam
  • 1991 — James Cahill: The Painter's Practice: How Artists Lived and Worked in Traditional China
  • 2001 — Archbishop Demetrios: Saint John Chrysostom: Anthropological Insights for Our Times
  • 2007 — Jonathan Riley Smith: The Crusades, Christianity and Islam
  • 2009 — Irving Weissman: Speculations on Stem Cells and the Mind
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