Astronomers are like time travellers, scanning the night sky for the outermost galaxies that first came into being when our universe was a mere fraction of its present age. In this talk, Richard Ellis gives a first-hand account of how a pioneering generation of scientists harnessed the world’s largest telescopes to decipher the history of the universe and witness cosmic dawn, the time when starlight first bathed the cosmos and galaxies emerged from darkness.
Based on his book, When Galaxies Were Born (Princeton), Richard will bring to life a golden age of astronomy, describing the triumphs and the technical setbacks, the rivalries with competing teams, and the perennial challenge of cloudy nights. Ellis reveals the astonishing progress we have made in building ever larger and more powerful telescopes, and provides a tantalizing glimpse of cosmic dawn.
Richard S Ellis is Professor of Astrophysics at University College London (UCL). He is an observational astronomer who studies the distant universe with a variety of facilities including the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes, the twin Keck telescopes in Hawaii and the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope.
Richard’s research interests include cosmology – the form and content of the Universe as a whole – and the evolution of galaxies over cosmic time. He has been influential in making many discoveries in these areas and is one of the world’s most highly-cited astrophysicists.