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University of Manitoba Public Lecture – From One to Many: Or, How Big is the Universe?

March 23, 2018 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

The University of Manitoba will be hosting a free public lecture on Friday March 23rd, 2018 at 3:30 pm in the Robert B. Schultz Theatre. See here for more details.

Dr. Virginia Trimble (aka 9271Trimble)
Prof. of Physics and Astronomy, U. California, Irvine Honorary staff member, Queen Jadwiga Observatory, Rzepiennik Biskupi, Poland

As is the case with many questions, the answer to this depends on who(m) you ask and when! Most of the early cultures of which we have any records thought that the Earth was the Universe, one that a human could cross in a lifetime and a god in a day. The intervening years have seen our best guesstimates of “How many?” and “How big?” grow to include numbers with 10 or 20 or 30 zeros after them. And whenever one groups has said “one,” (solar system, galaxy…) and another group has said “many,” the many’s have won. Sometimes it takes a while.  Thomas Digges proposed in 1600 that the stars were suns with planets. He was right, and we now know many thousands, a number that will surely grow for as long as we keep looking for them. Similarly, debates between large and small cosmoi and long and short ages have been won by the large and old teams. Even light takes about 46 billion years to cross the part of the universe we can study; observations guarantee that the total size is much larger than the part we can study, and may be infinite. This does not rule out there being other universes, other space times, probably with three spatial dimensions and one time, like ours, but perhaps very different forces and kinds of objects. Since the historical trend has always been toward more, bigger, and different, I think many universes, in one sense or another, is surely the best bet.

Welcome to the multiverse!  


Robert B. Schultz Lecture Theatre
92 Dysart Road, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2M7 Canada


University of Manitoba

Regular Events

Every second Friday of the month, we host our monthly meetings. They are free and open for all to attend, and are located in the Robert Schultz Lecture Theatre at St. John’s College in the U of M.

Meetings start at 7pm with our Beginner’s talk, which are designed for novice astronomers who are just beginning in the hobby. Then, we have updates on the latest astronomical news, and also discuss what is up to observe in the night sky that month. The main talk typically runs from 9pm to 10pm, where we have a variety of guest speakers who share their knowledge and expertise of astronomy.

Near the end of each summer, the Winnipeg RASC holds its annual Spruce Woods Star Party, held at Spruce Woods Provincial Park near Carberry, Manitoba. All current RASC members are welcome to join for a weekend of astronomy workshops and long nights of observing.