Aug. 25, 4-5:30 p.m. Main Stage, UAA Fine Arts Building Free Public Talk, Nobel Laureate astrophysicist Brian P. Schmidt
Brian P. Schmidt is a Distinguished Professor, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and astrophysicist at The Australian National University Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and is known for his research in using supernovae as cosmological probes.
He currently holds an Australia Research Council Federation Fellowship and was elected to the Royal Society in 2012. Schmidt shared both the 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Schmidt is currently leading the SkyMapper telescope Project and the associated Southern Sky Survey.
Schmidt was born on February 24, 1967, in Missoula, Montana, where his father Dana C. Schmidt was a fisheries biologist. When he was 13, his family relocated to Anchorage, Alaska.
Schmidt attended Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska, and graduated in 1985. He has said that he wanted to be a meteorologist "since I was about five-years-old" but "... I did some work at the USA National Weather Service up in Anchorage and didn't enjoy it very much. It was less scientific, not as exciting as I thought it would be—there was a lot of routine. But I guess I was just a little naive about what being a meteorologist meant."
His decision to study astronomy, which he had seen as "a minor pastime," was made just before he enrolled at university. He earned his B.S. (Physics) and B.S. (Astronomy) from the University of Arizona in 1989. He received his M.A. (Astronomy) in 1992 and then his doctorate (Astronomy) in 1993 from Harvard University. Schmidt's doctoral thesis was supervised by Robert Kirshner and used Type II Supernovae to measure the Hubble Constant.