Yale Astrophysicist and Author of Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos
A cosmologist and theoretical astrophysicist, Priyamvada Natarajan is Professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University. She is the author of the book Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos: a lively history of the ground-breaking ideas and discoveries transforming our understanding of the universe. The book is a “greatest hits” of cosmology over the past century that Brian Greene says “captures well humanity’s passionate drive to discover” and that Lawrence Krauss calls “Novel and absorbing ... Readers of Mapping the Heavens will thus get a very good sense of how far cosmology has come, and how often observations have confronted prevailing wisdom.”
Natarajan researches gravitational lensing and black holes, mapping the distribution of dark matter in the universe. She currently holds the Sophie and Tycho Brahe Professorship of the Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institute, at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society and Chair of its Division of Astrophysics, and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Explorers Club. On the Advisory Board of NOVA ScienceNow, Natarajan is actively engaged in public outreach and in developing strategies to enhance numerical and scientific literacy. In addition to publishing in scientific journals such as Science and Nature, she has written for publications like The Washington Post and Discover, and her work has been featured in publications including Science News, New Scientist, and The New York Review of Books.
Mapping the Universe: Astronomy as a Peopleâ€™s Science
As our knowledge of the universe expands, so does our sense of wonder. The sky belongs to all of us, says Yale astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan—astronomy is the people’s science.
In this awe-inspiring keynote, Natarajan introduces audiences to dark matter, the enigmatic, invisible substance that makes up nearly a third of space. But above all, you’ll learn that what we don’t know is as important as what we know. Science is provisional—ever-evolving and open to innovation. And when we question conventional wisdom, push boundaries, and dare to know the unknowable, the sky’s the limit.
STEM Equality: Why We Need Diversity in Science, Now
Young girls and people of color are discouraged from pursuing scientific careers at a very early age. Why? Today, we must confront the conscious and unconscious biases at the heart of the STEM fields—and this means addressing gender parity and discrimination in both the school, and the lab.
In this keynote, Natarajan explores the world of gender and cultural parity across multiple spheres—the public, personal, university, domestic, and cultural—and investigates the many initiatives undertaken to level the playing field by colleges, governments, and corporations. Far from purely a numbers game, she explains, gender equity is a wider cultural problem (a human issue, not merely a ‘women’s issue’). As such, we need to address the subtle cultural and field-specific biases that prevent greater equity—and, as Natarajan argues, be good scientists: open to new ideas, and willing to re-examine our most cherished beliefs.
Outsider Views: Perspectives on Belonging in STEM and Wider Culture
Priyamvada Natarajan is a Yale astronomer and past Guggenheim fellow—an insider, if you will, who has won wide acclaim from various institutions. But she’s also a woman—and an Indian woman—in a field dominated by (mostly white) men. This duality gives Natarajan a curious sense of belonging. What does it mean to be both an insider and outsider, in both the STEM fields and wider culture? How does one feel comfortable, at home, or in spheres that aren’t yet ready for a porous border? This keynote is a moving look at a life lived beyond easy classifications—for those who need to listen, and for those yearning to belong.
Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal The Cosmos
Mapping the Heavens provides a tour of the “greatest hits” of cosmological discoveries—the ideas that reshaped our universe over the past century. The cosmos, once understood as a stagnant place, filled with the ordinary, is now a universe that is expanding at an accelerating pace, propelled by dark energy and structured by dark matter. Priyamvada Natarajan, our guide to these ideas, is someone at the forefront of the research—an astrophysicist who literally creates maps of invisible matter in the universe. In the book, she not only explains for a wide audience the science behind these essential ideas but also provides an understanding of how radical scientific theories gain acceptance.
The formation and growth of black holes, dark matter halos, the accelerating expansion of the universe, the echo of the big bang, the discovery of exoplanets, and the possibility of other universes—these are some of the puzzling cosmological topics of the early twenty-first century. Natarajan discusses why the acceptance of new ideas about the universe and our place in it has never been linear and always contested even within the scientific community. And she affirms that, shifting and incomplete as science always must be, it offers the best path we have toward making sense of our wondrous, mysterious universe.
Fun evening talking about Mapping the Heavens at Stevens Institute at Hoboken, great audience and lovely host - thanks John @Horganismabout 6 hours ago
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