Brian Schmidt

The state of the Universe

Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt looks at the Universe's vital statistics and what we do (and don't) know about the past, present and future.

What is the state of the Universe? Created 13.8 billion years ago in ‘The Big Bang’ it has been expanding ever since. In the annual Walter Stibbs lecture, Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt looks at the Universe’s vital statistics – size, weight, shape, age and composition – and what we do (and don’t) know about the past, present and future.


  • Brian Schmidt is Distinguished Professor of Astronomy and the 12th Vice Chancellor and President of the Australian National University, having joined the University in 1995. Brian was raised in Montana and Alaska, USA, and received undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Arizona in 1989. Under the supervision of Robert Kirshner, he completed his Astronomy Master's degree (1992) and PhD (1993) from Harvard University. In 1994 he and Nick Suntzeff formed the HighZ SN Search team, a group of 20 astronomers on 5 continents who used distant exploding stars to trace the expansion of the Universe back in time. This group's discovery of an accelerating Universe was named Science Magazine's Breakthrough of the Year for 1998. For his work on the accelerating universe Brian Schmidt was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, jointly with Adam Riess and Saul Perlmutter. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, The United States Academy of Science, and Royal Society, In 2013, he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia. Brian also runs Maipenrai Vineyard and Winery, a 2.7 acre vineyard and small winery in the Canberra District which produces Pinot Noir.

Introduction by Prof. Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Director of the Sydney Institute for Astronomy

This lecture is supported by a gift from the Stibbs family and sponsored by the Sydney Institute for Astronomy.

The Professor Walter Stibbs Lectureship commemorates the achievements of Professor Stibbs through an annual lecture by a distinguished astronomer of international standing.

This event was held at the University of Sydney on Tuesday 5 June 2018.

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