Wondrous advances in physics, astronomy and space exploration reveal the nature of the Universe in unprecedented detail. But it's no time to be complacent. While the likes of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) reveal the Universe as never before, there are limits to even its capabilities, and correspondingly to our understanding of the Universe.
Indeed it seems of late that the Universe becomes more puzzling with every new observation. Meanwhile we are nowhere near a complete understanding of the origin of or cosmic context for life. There are countless levels of understanding - and perception – that we must still breach to truly know the Cosmos from the grandest scales to its countless planetary locales.
In this talk we will examine some of the most cutting edge images from the likes of HST to gain some semblance of "where we're at" in our exploration and understanding of the Cosmos, while also acknowledging their limits.
We'll explore how those limits can be breached through upcoming enigmatic missions such as the GAIA and JWST space telescopes, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – projects that will not only redefine our understanding and perception of the Cosmos, but in so doing also redefine what science itself is, how it is pursued and the role of humans versus artificial intelligence in the pursuit of a complete understanding of the Cosmos.
Kevin Nolan is lecturer in physics for the Technological University of Dublin (TUD), and Coordinator to Ireland for The Planetary Society. He is author of the popular science book Mars, a Cosmic Stepping Stone and currently pursuing a part-time PhD developing the imagine analysis pipeline for ESA's Integral space probe Optical Monitoring Camera (OMC).