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Cosmology Basics: Three Things To Know


Kasey Wagoner, Ph.D.
Levels: All
Available Now! 1 PD Hour




(Telescope Photo Credit:  Jon Ward)

This Live Webinar took place on September 19, 2019.

At the Network, we so often hear people say they aren’t sure whether the science they’re reading, watching, and hearing is widely accepted among scientists.  Many also say that cosmology is too difficult to understand.  Dr. Kasey Wagoner works with a global team of 250 cosmologists building telescopes in the high Atacama Desert in Northern Chile.   The Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) is currently making observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), studying how the universe began, what it is made of, and how it evolved to its current state.  The Simons Observatory, which will see first light in 2020, will add several new telescopes to this exploration, setting the stage for the next generation of CMB experiments.

Kasey gives a basic, understandable introduction to scientists’ understanding of our awe-inspiring universe.  It focuses on three topics: 1) in the past, the universe was much hotter and much denser; 2) the scientific model that describes the universe’s evolution; and . . . so importantly, 3) the observations that tell us how we know what we know.  Join Dr. Wagoner and others from around the world!

Videos about the telescopes in the Atacama Desert in Chile:

1.  The Eternal Sky: Building the Simons Observatory  (View)  (6 mins)

2.  The Eternal Sky (ViewBig Bang or Big Bounce, how did our universe begin?  Cosmologists discuss possibilities and what observational data from the telescopes will tell us.  (9 mins)

3.  The Eternal Sky Episode Three (View)   Science of the Small.  From the vantage point of thousands of meters above sea level, scientists hope to detect minute temperature fluctuations in the afterglow of the universe’s birth.  (9 mins)

You can subscribe to the Simons Observatory youtube channel.  It’s free.  Subscribe here!


Kasey Wagoner, Ph.D.
Lecturer of Physics, Princeton University
Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
Simons Observatory and Atacama Cosmology Telescope
Levels:  Secondary, College and Beyond
Thursday, September 19, 7:00  PM EST (US)

CPD Hours: 1





What you will get:

  • A basic understanding of cosmology without getting overwhelmed.
  • A chance to connect with a scientist who’s part of a global team of scientists doing primary researcher.
  • Your questions answered.  NO questions are dumb!


Who is this for?

  • Everyone who wants to know about the universe!
  • Teachers will appreciate knowing the most important components of the cosmological model today; and having a direct connection with the premier team of cosmologists in the world with the most up to date science.
  • Students will be inspired with understanding the science and seeing the human side of science.  Teachers you may want to encourage your students to participate in this live event.
  • Montessori teachers, in particular will be interested in understanding the science that undergirds the Cosmic Education Curriculum.


The Simons Observatory collaboration team of 250 scientists from around the world met at UC Berkeley in July 2019.


Kasey Wagoner Says:  I have always enjoyed looking up at the night sky and thinking about how the universe could be understood with the fundamental physical principles we have discovered on earth. When I moved to New Jersey in 2015 I joined the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) and Simons Observatory (SO) collaborations. Both of these groups measure the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation. They use these measurements and our understanding of physics to improve our knowledge of the universe and how it has evolved.

Before coming to Princeton I worked on laboratory tests of gravity. These experiments aimed to test models which attempt to unify gravity with quantum mechanics. These experiments provide a fun, but challenging, opportunity to test some of the most fundamental aspects of physics in the lab.

Outside the office/lab I spend most of my time hunting for interesting, new foods with my wife (like me, she enjoys all kinds of ethnic foods) and my dog Ike (unlike me, he mostly likes whatever he can get in his mouth on our daily walks). I am also an avid sports fan and spend a lot of time watching and playing anything I can. Recently I started making wine and doing minor wood working projects. These activities have helped keep me grounded and my head out of the stars!

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