RASC Mississauga: New Frontiers in Observational Cosmology

Michel Fich
Dr. Michel Fich, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo
Friday, November 23, 2018 - 8:00pm to 10:00pm

Our most recent generation of cosmology experiments, such as the Planck satellite and observations of distant supernovae, have reduced all of cosmology to the very precise measurement of eight parameters. This relatively simple model seems complete with no hints of additional elements required to explain the entire evolution of the Universe from the Big Bang to some far distant future. 

These recent results include such things as the precise measurement of the contributors to the overall mass-energy density of the universe.  We know with great precision the amount of Dark Energy, Dark Matter, neutrinos, baryons, etc in the Universe today. What we do not know is exactly what most of these things really are. In this talk Michel Fich will discuss these elements and focus on the new experiments, now in development, that will give us insight into these areas of fundamental physics. One of the new instruments that will carry out these instruments is CCAT-prime, a telescope that is currently under construction by an international team that includes a strong pan-Canadian group of astronomers.

Dr. Michel Fich is an astronomer specializing in studies of star formation, the interstellar medium, and the structure of galaxies. His recent research activities have focused on “small scale” formation studies of low and intermediate mass stars, circumstellar disks, and the formation of proto-solar systems.

Dr. Fich’s relationship with the university began during his final year of high school, when he was a student competitor in the Sir Isaac Newton Exam, which is run annually by UWaterloo in high schools across the province and even internationally. Scoring very well on the exam, he received an undergraduate scholarship that allowed him to attend Waterloo. Encouraged by then professor, and future Dean of Science, Don Brodie, Dr. Fich chose to pursue a degree in physics rather than the path he’d planned in engineering.

That path led him to complete his BSc in Physics at Waterloo in 1978, followed by an MA (1981) and his PhD (1983) from the University of California, Berkeley and, ultimately, to a career in astronomy. He has been a faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Waterloo since 1986.

Today he studies the formation of planets, stars and galaxies using some of the largest instruments built for that purpose. He is the Canadian leader in the HIFI instrument on the Herschel Space Observatory, SCUBA-2 for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, and most recently, the Cornell Caltech Atacama Telescope, a telescope to be built in the mountains of Chile. Dr. Fich says everyone at Waterloo - from students to senior administration - is very supportive of his research at all levels.

Who can attend: Everyone
Fee: Free
Reservations: Not required
Organized by: RASC - Mississauga Centre
Location: University of Toronto Mississauga, William Davis Building, Lecture Hall SE2074, 3359 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, ON  L5L 1C6. Enter off Mississauga Road. Park in lot 4 or the parkade across from the fitness centre south of the Davis Building. Enter through the Fitness centre, walk up the stairs until you reach the main corridor then turn right. (If you need an elevator, follow the corridor to the right of the stairs, then go up to the main floor.) Look for the Mississauga Centre sign in front of the lecture room.