15. May 2018 @ 15:30 - 17:00Public
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Hans-Joachim Blome, Aachen University of Applied Sciences
15 May 2018
We are children of the Universe, as the matter contained in our bodies originates from the stars and the Big Bang. Neither the atoms nor molecules from which we are built existed in the early days of the formation of the Universe; instead they emerged over billions of years from the interior of stars – from the fusion of hydrogen and helium – the only elements that did exist from the beginning. Countless supernova explosions released heavy elements into the Universe as a basic condition for the emergence of planetary systems and the development of life on Earth or other extrasolar planets. We inhabit the cosmic oasis called Earth. The minimum requirements needed for its emergence was the Universe itself, which today extends into distant extragalactic reaches.
The macrocosm is only accessible indirectly using telescopes and detectors that probe its information carriers such as electromagnetic radiation, gravitational waves, neutrinos and cosmic particles. Natural laws and the limited human lifespan place restrictions on astronaut expeditions beyond Mars and into the interstellar space of our galaxy. Human beings are also unable to directly penetrate the world of atoms and elementary particles. Instead, (sub)-atomic objects and structures can only be detected using scanning tunnelling microscopes and particle accelerators. Our living realm, the ‘mesocosm’ of low speeds, weak gravitational fields and tangible matter, is described by classic physics. But quantum theory and the general theory of relativity have shown that the terms and natural laws of the mesocosm are inadequate to understand the atomic and extragalactic reality. That humankind has managed to enter the extragalactic and (sub)-atomic worlds, both instrumentally and descriptively, is one of the most astonishing achievements, a process that has lasted from the age of Kepler, Galilei and Newton to the present day. In the words of Hoimar von Ditfurth: “Natural science can also be described as the process that enables humankind to cast off the shackles of its anthropocentric perception of the world.”
Hans-Joachim Blome was a longstanding research associate at the Institute for Astrophysics, University of Bonn, and at DLR. He has been Professor at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences since 1999, where he has carried out research and teaches in the field of space technology. His work focuses on gravitational physics, space flight dynamics and cosmology.