Understanding the Big Bang: Physics in extreme cosmic situations

Professor Dr. Hermann Nicolai to hold a public talk at URANIA Potsdam.

November 26, 2009

Date and location: Wednesday, 2 December 2009 at 7:00 p.m.

Gutenbergstraße 71/72, 14467 Potsdam

Modern physics rests on two pillars: on quantum mechanics, which describes processes on the very smallest level, including molecules, atoms and elementary particles, and on Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which applies to huge masses at vast distances, such as, for example, black holes and neutron stars. Quantum theory and relativity theory “meet” in the Big Bang, as this is where the mass of the entire universe comes together in a tiny point. However, it has not yet been possible to unite both theories and thereby attain a conclusive description of the Big Bang.

In his talk, Hermann Nicolai, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, will describe which ideas are currently being explored in order to reconcile both theories and thus reach a better understanding of the Big Band and other extreme cosmic situations.

The talk brings to a close the entire series of talks in URANIA Potsdam by the Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) and the University of Potsdam focussing on astronomy and astrophysics on the occasion of the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

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