Public Lecture by Warrick Couch: The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics

The Australian Institute of Physics, Victorian Branch, together with Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing (CAS), Swinburne University of Technology proudly presents:

November Public Lecture

6:30pm Thursday 17th November 2011
ATC101 Lecture Theatre, Advanced Technologies Centre,
Swinburne University of Technology, 427-451 Burwood Road, Hawthorn

No RSVP required. Please join us for drinks and nibbles before the talk at 6pm.


Prof Warrick Couch
Distinguished Professor & Director of the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology


The award of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics to Brian Schmidt of ANU (along with Saul Perlmutter of UC Berkeley and Adam Riess of Johns Hopkins University) for his part in the discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, represents an outstanding achievement and pinnacle of recognition for Australian physics and astronomy. Furthermore, there is an even stronger Australian connection to this Nobel Prize-winning research than might be recognized, with the Supernova Cosmology Project (SCP) led by Perlmutter having its origins in this country! While the main focus of this talk will be the research that led to the accelerating universe discovery and the leadership roles that Schmidt, Riess and Perlmutter played in that discovery, the speaker will also give his perspectives as a member of the SCP team, in particular his collaboration with Perlmutter and colleagues at Berkeley which led to this project having it beginnings on the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope at Coonabarabran in NSW. Recent efforts by Swinburne researchers to better understand the “dark energy” responsible for driving the accelerating expansion will also be briefly described.


Warrick Couch is a Distinguished Professor and Director of the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology. He was born and educated in New Zealand, then moved to Australia to do his PhD in observational extragalactic astronomy at ANU. He subsequently held positions at Durham University in England, the Anglo-Australian Observatory and UNSW in Sydney, before taking up his current position at Swinburne in 2006. His interest in cosmology and galaxy evolution have seen him lead or play a key role in numerous major international projects, including the Supernova Cosmology Project, the Hubble Space Telescope “Morphs” Project, the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey, and the WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey. The significance of his research contributions was recognized by his election as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2009.


Dr Andrew Stevenson
AIP Vic. Branch Chair