Monday October 12th, 2009

Are the Laws of Nature Changing?

Dr Michael Murphy

Dr Michael Murphy
Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing
Swinburne University of Technology

What are the laws of Nature? Are they really hard-and-fast “laws”, or just “local by-laws” for the tiny region of the Universe we live in? These questions are among the most basic we can ask, and also some of the oldest. This talk will explore how astronomers are trying to answer these questions of fundamental physics. One fun way is to observe quasars – super-massive black holes sucking in stars and gas from the centers of galaxies in the extremely distant Universe – with the biggest telescopes on Earth. Excitingly, Dr Murphy’s results to date suggest that some laws of Nature might have been different billions of years ago, in the early Universe, before our Solar System and even our Milky Way galaxy existed. Of course, these results are under intense scrutiny and the story continues.

  • Time: 6:30pm to 7:30pm (Doors open at 6pm)
  • Venue: Ithaca Auditorium, Brisbane City Hall
  • Refreshments: There will be complimentary drinks and nibblies following the talk, and Michael will be available to answer any questions.
  • Questions? Contact Lynelle (

Michael Murphy is an observational astronomer studying the Universe’s properties and evolution on the largest possible scales, i.e. cosmology. He completed his PhD in physics at the University of NSW in Sydney and then spent 5 years at the University of Cambridge in the UK as a research fellow. He returned to Australia in 2007 to take up a lectureship at Swinburne University and began a QEII Research Fellowship there in 2008, funded by the Australian Government.