Professor Joseph Silk, FRS, to deliver the 16th Sackler Lecture

Joseph SilkCITA announces the 16th Sackler Lecture will be delivered by Joseph Ivor Silk who has done outstanding work to understand the very early universe.


Professor Silk will visit CITA April 21-25, 2014.

His public talk entitled “From Here to Eternity” will be Tue, Apr 22, 2014, 7:30 PM in the Koffler Building, 569 Spadina Avenue, main auditorium, west of CITA offices in McLennan Physical.

Silk was awarded the 2011 Balzan Prize for his work on the infant universe. The $950,000 award is given annually to people or organizations that have made outstanding achievements in the fields of the natural sciences, humanities and culture, as well as for peace-promoting endeavours. He has written or co-authored more than 500 publications, including three popular science books, On the Shores of the Unknown: A Short History of the Universe, The Big Bang , and Cosmic Enigmas. He has given more than two hundred invited conference lectures, primarily on galaxy formation and cosmology.

Silk conducted important early work on homogeneities in the cosmic microwave background and how they are influenced by density fluctuations in the matter of the early universe, in particular by a damping effect that bears his name. These were decisive contributions that helped transform cosmology into a high-precision science. He has also made pioneering advances in understanding the nature of dark matter, and explored novel indirect methods for its detection. The latter have inspired very large experiments with new types of telescopes. Silk‘s studies of galaxy formation and his work on the dynamics of mass loss and the feedback mechanisms from star formation and evolution have formed a very significant basis for subsequent work in this important field.

He is Homewood Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins and a Researcher at the Institute D’Astrophysique de Paris (IAP) working on Cosmology, High Energy Astrophysics and Large Scale Structure of the Universe.

Previously Silk held the Savilian Chair of Astronomy at the University of Oxford from 1999 to September 2011, and the Chair of the Astronomy Department at Berkeley from 1978, where he joined the faculty in 1970. He was educated at Tottenham County School (1954-1960) studied Mathematics at the University of Cambridge (1960-1963), earned a PhD in Astronomy from Harvard in 1968, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge and Princeton. Silk is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Visiting Astrophysicist Program began in 1997. Each year CITA invites an internationally distinguished scholar conducting research in theoretical astrophysics to give two lectures at the University of Toronto and meet informally with faculty and postdoctoral fellows at CITA as well as researchers and students in related departments at the University of Toronto. The visit is intended to be the highlight of the academic year at CITA.

Previous Sackler Lecturers include Donald Lynden-Bell, Leonard Susskind, Jerry Ostriker, Roger Blandford, Kip Thorne, Scott Tremaine, Rashid Sunyaev, Christopher McKee, George Efstathiou, Andrei Linde, Frank Shu, Peter Goldreich and Martin J. Rees.

Sackler Lectures archive
Silk’s public lecture recording
Silk’s technical lecture recording

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