Watching the universe grow up
How did the first generation of stars and galaxies form in our Universe? Astronomers don’t know. They have ideas, to be sure, which are hard to confirm with observations because prior to the formation of the first stars and galaxies, it’s not clear what they can look at! In the last few years, much progress has been made in trying to detect radio waves from hydrogen atoms that existed in the early Universe. The existence of hydrogen precedes the formation of the first stars and galaxies, and therefore allows direct observations of the formation process. This new technique (known as “21cm cosmology”) has yet to become a standard tool in the astronomical community.
Join Adrian Liu for a “sneak preview” of what will come in the next few years, as 21cm cosmology revolutionizes our understanding of how our present Universe—with its majestic astronomical patterns consisting of mature stars, galaxies, and even larger objects—came to be.
Adrian Liu grew up in Hong Kong, living there through the completion of high school. From 2002 to 2006, he attended Princeton University, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics. In 2012, he earned a Ph.D. in Physics from MIT. Since then, he has been a researcher at UC Berkeley’s Department of Astronomy, where he is now a Hubble Fellow. Adrian enjoys applying physics to understanding the largest experiment of all time: Our Universe.