‘Big Bang’ in Cartwright Hall

Mark Haymond

Yale physicist John W. Harris presented “An Odyssey Through Our Universe” Tuesday night in Cartwright Hall. The presentation was a one hour crash course on the Big Bang and the unknown forces that affect the universe.

The slide show covered the history of our universe, from a fraction of a second after its beginning to the distant future. He explained black holes and touched on the mysteries of “dark matter,” which scientists can’t yet detect, but is believed to make up 70 percent of the universe.

The audience ranged from children to the elderly and everything in between. Harris presented difficult scientific concepts in a concise and understandable way. With his semi-wild hair and Albert Einstein T-shirt, he looked more like a mad scientist than a stereotypical Yale professor.

When he spoke about the dark forces in the universe, Darth Vader appeared on the screen. When he spoke about the fourth dimension, a painting by Salvador Dali popped up.

After the speech, Harris took questions from the audience, all of which he patiently answered. When asked if it is difficult to explain molecular physics to the average person, Harris smiled.

“Most people have ideas about this stuff,” Harris said. “Even kids have good questions.”

The presentation was sponsored by the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs.

Contact Mark Haymond at [email protected] .