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The Beatrice Hill Tinsley Lectures

Beatrice Hill Tinsley in 1977

Beatrice Hill Tinsley in 1977

Beatrice Hill Tinsley was a Professor of Astronomy at Yale University when she died, aged 40, of melanoma in 1981. Until she came on the scene, people believed that galaxies were fixed, immobile and unchanging in the universe. She discovered (among many other things) that galaxies are both changing and interacting with one another. She proved that the universe is still evolving.

Born in England, her family came to New Zealand when she was 5. She was educated first in New Plymouth and then at the University of Canterbury. In 1961 she married Brian Tinsley. In 1963 they travelled to the USA, where they remained

Beatrice was celebrated for her work as a synthesiser, the bringing together of apparently unrelated and individual scraps and strands of knowledge and theory, to help create a whole.

These Beatrice Hill Tinsley Lectures are our way of celebrating the life and work of this extraordinarily appealing and altogether remarkable young woman.

The Beatrice Hill Tinsley Lectures are administered by the RASNZ Lecture Trust who may be contacted by email at LectureTrust@rasnz.org.nz.


The Beatrice Hill Tinsley Lectures 2014

Administered by the RASNZ Lecture Trust

Dr Tamara Davis

Dr Davis is the Future Fellow of the School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia.

Dr Davis is a cosmologist who spends her time investigating why the expansion of the universe is accelerating. She was part of the WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey, which made one of the largest ever maps of the distribution of galaxies in the universe, and uses supernovae to measure the properties of "dark energy". She’s an avid science communicator and has a knack for turning complex concepts into everyday language.

For more biographical information see Tamara's home page.

Details of the 2014 Tour.

Dr Davis's hosts have selected one of the following two talks as indicated in the notes for each lecture:

The Dark Side

Observations of the universe over the last few decades have thrown us some curve balls. We thought we had the basic picture --- the universe is expanding, and all the structure we now see formed thanks to gravity out of little over-dense clumps in the hot, dense, early universe. Well that was all true, but we've realised that that's not the end of the story. There's a dark side to the universe that we don't usually see, and it seems that everything we thought we knew makes up only 5% of the universe. Dark matter and dark energy make up the rest….

In this talk I'll explain why we are so certain of such a seemingly ludicrous proposition, and what we can hope to learn by studying these wild and wonderful phenomena.

Cosmological Confusion ...

... revealing common misconceptions about the big bang, the expansion of the universe and cosmic horizons

What is expanding space? What came before the big bang? What causes the expansion? What expands? Is there an edge to space? Forget about the details of my research… when I'm having a beer with family and friends these are the questions that come out. So beef up your cocktail party conversation repertoire by hearing about these and other cosmological conundrums, such as how the expansion can exceed the speed of light without violating relativity, and where the energy goes when light is redshifted by the expansion of the universe.

Confirmed venues, topics and times

  • New Plymouth Sunday September 21st 7:30 – 9:30pm
    Topic: Cosmological Confusion
    Venue: Ryder Hall, New Plymouth Boys’ High School
    Admission: Adults $5, Junior gold coin
    Phone: phone 021 751 524
    Contact: New Plymouth Astronomical Society nickandviv@gmail.com

  • Levin Monday September 22nd 7:00pm
    Topic: Cosmological Confusion
    Venue: School Hall, Waiopehu College, Bartholomew Road, Levin
    Admission: Gold coin donation
    Contact: Horowhenua Astronomical Society tinahills@slingshot.co.nz
    Web: http://www.horoastronomy.org.nz

  • Napier Tuesday September 23rd 7:00pm
    Topic: The Dark Side
    Venue: Holt Planetarium, Chambers St, Napier
    Admission: Gold coin donation
    Phone: phone 06 8440174
    Contact: Hawkes Bay Astronomical Society ghsparks@xtra.co.nz
    Web: http://www.hbastrosoc.org.nz/

  • Invercargill Wednesday September 24th 7:30pm
    Topic: The Dark Side
    Venue: Oreti Room, Ascot Park Hotel
    Admission: Adults $5, Students $2
    Phone: phone 021 050 3508
    Contact: Southland Astronomical Society bevans@es.co.nz
    Web: http://www.southlandastro.org.nz

  • Dunedin Thursday September 25th 5:30pm
    Topic: Cosmological Confusion
    Venue: Hutton Lecture Theatre, Otago Museum
    Admission: No charge.
    Phone: 03-474 7474 (Otago Museum public help desk)
    Contact: Dunedin Astronomical Society dunedin.astronomy@gmail.com
    Web: DAS Event

  • Christchurch Friday September 26th 7:00pm
    Topic: The Dark Side
    Venue: C2 Lecture Theatre, University of Canterbury
    Admission: No charge.
    Contact: Canterbury Astronomical Society webmaster@cas.org.nz
    Web: http://www.cas.org.nz/


Enquiries to Bob Evans, LectureTrust@rasnz.org.nz

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Site last updated 29th September 2014