Dyson 1, Tipler 0

Damien Broderick (damien@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au)
Sun, 13 Jul 1997 12:11:12 +0000

I'm somewhat disheartened to report that the universe seems to be open.
The Big Crunch and its Omega deity are therefore off the agenda, unless we
and our AI pals get in there and really push (well, pull), tweaking the

Dr Brian Schmidt, a research fellow at Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring
observatories in Australia, writes in the Weekend Australian newspaper for
Saturday 12 July (p 24) that this week he presented to a Sydney conference
of the Astronomical Society of Australia the first results of a study of
supernovae at very great distances. This used new technologies available
via the Keck and Hubble telescopes, permitting measures of the expansion
rate 8 billion years ago.
`Comparison to the current rate of expansion indicates that the universe
has slowed down very little over this time, and therefore will continue to
expand forever.'

This data is very recent - the latest observations were made less than 10
days ago. A second very similar study is currently under way in
California. Schmidt expects to learn if the results converge `in the next
few years'.

(BTW, Robin, good news about the PhD! This cosmological news means you'll
now have a very long time to enjoy it, although things will be getting
rather cold after a while.)

Damien Broderick