Philosophical Society of Washington

COBE and How We Know There Was A Big Bang, The Solar Neutrino Problem and How We Know the Stars Run on Nuclear Energy, Gamma Ray Bursters and How Sometimes We Don't Know Anything

Updates on Three Problems in Modern Astronomy

Virginia L. Trimble
Professor Physics Department, University of California at Irvine and Astronomy Department, University of Maryland at College Park

2046th Meeting Abstract
Friday, September 15, 1995 at 8:15 PM


To judge from reports in the popular press, every scientific advance is either epoch-making or disastrous. In fact, science generally progresses rather like an amoeba, throwing out occasional pseudopods in directions that look promising, and then either pulling the rest of the body after, or retreating. This talk will focus on three issues that have made the science columns of newspapers in the last year or two, explaining how we came to our present understanding of cosmology (the large scale structure and evolution of the universe) and of the energy sources in stars and the progress being made on the very curious and puzzling phenomena of bursts of gamma rays coming from random directions in the sky, seemingly uncorrelated with anything else we know about.

About the Author:

Ms. Trimble received her Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology in 1968. Her research has encompassed topics of astrophysics such as binary stars, open clusters, supernova remnants, and dark matter. Throughout her career, she has served on the boards of various professional societies, including the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as on the editorial boards of various scientific journals. She is currently a professor at the University of California at Irvine, a visiting professor at the University of Maryland, and editor or editorial board member of 6 journals, including “The Scientist”, and “Astrophysical Journal”.

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