Research News

Lecture describes mankind’s special place in the universe

Exploding stars and black holes. Colliding galaxies and dark matter. Dark energy and cosmic inflation. The universe that modern science has revealed is strange and wild and beautiful, but doesn’t seem particularly hospitable to life or very comprehensible.

In a free public lecture on Wednesday afternoon, March 26, however, the prominent cosmologist Joel Primack and science writer Nancy Abrams will argue that the fundamental principles of physics and cosmology dictate a special role for intelligent beings. The talk, which is lavishly illustrated with astronomical images and videos, provides a new perspective on the fundamental nature of being human and what individuals can do to resolve personal and global challenges.

Primack is professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz and specializes in the formation and evolution of galaxies and the nature of dark matter. Abrams has degrees in history, philosophy of science and international law and her work has appeared in a number of journals, newspapers and magazines such asThe Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Environment, and California Lawyer. The presentation is based on their popular book The View from the Center of the Universe. More information is available at the website

The lecture is scheduled at 4 p.m. on March 26 in Room 4327 Stevenson Center on the Vanderbilt University campus.

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Media Contact: David F. Salisbury, (615) 322-NEWS