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On the Origin and Design of the Universe
A Lecture with Dr. Michael G. Strauss
Associate Professor of Physics, University of Oklahoma

Item# V030
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Many different theories about the origin of the universe and our world have been proposed for as long as humans have been able to reason. However, in the last few decades scientists have made a number of observations that have led to an unprecedented understanding of the origin and complexity of the universe. For the first time in the history of humanity, we have knowledge about the birth and design of the universe that is based on scientific inquiry rather than on fabricated myths or speculation.

In this talk, Professor Strauss reviews the scientific evidence regarding the origin of the universe. He explains why the Big Bang model is the best model of the beginning of the universe given the current scientific data. Strauss also discusses the physical parameters of the universe that have allowed the universe to exist and provide an environment for supporting life. The "anthropic principle" refers to the observation that these physical parameters seem to be astonishingly well tuned to allow life to exist. The theological implications of both the big bang and the anthropic principle are discussed.

The lecture concludes with an extensive question and answer session with the audience.

Recorded at the University of California, Santa Barbara, October 2003.

Total program time: 1 hour, 26 minutes.

About Michael G. Strauss

Dr. Strauss is currently an Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. He conducts research in experimental elementary particle physics at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago, where he studies the fundamental particles and forces in the universe. His most recent research has focused on studying the quarks and gluons that make up the internal structure of the proton.

With an interest in science and theology, Dr. Strauss attended Biola University where he studied both subjects in detail. After graduating summa cum laude from Biola, he pursued a graduate degree in physics at UCLA. As a graduate student he was fascinated with quantum mechanics and subatomic physics, so he joined a High Energy Physics experimental group doing research at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). At SLAC, he measured the polarization of particles produced in quark fragmentation, and graduated from UCLA in 1988 with his Ph.D. in elementary particle physics.

Dr. Strauss continued to do research at SLAC as a post-doctoral researcher with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His research interests centered on using the SLD silicon pixel vertex detector to tag heavy quark flavors while studying Quantum Chromodynamics.

In 1995, he joined the faculty in the department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Oklahoma. He has primarily taught introductory physics classes to engineers, life science majors, and physics majors. Dr. Strauss has received a number of teaching awards including the Associated Students' Outstanding Professor in the College of Arts and Science, the BP AMOCA Foundation Good Teaching Award, and the Regents Award for Superior Teaching. He currently also conducts research in experimental elementary particle physics at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago, where he studies fundamental particles and forces in the universe, such as the quarks and gluon that make up the internal structure of the proton.


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