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Prof Martin Hendry

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Martin Hendry is Professor of Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology and Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow.  His main research interests are in cosmology - the branch of astronomy concerned with the "big questions" about the origin and evolution of our universe - and gravitational waves: the so-called "ripples" in spacetime predicted by Einstein and produced by some of the most violent events in the cosmos - colliding black holes, exploding stars even the Big Bang itself. He co-chairs the public outreach group of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration: the international team of more than 900 scientists leading the search for gravitational waves. Martin is a passionate enthusiast for promoting public engagement in science and regularly delivers lectures and workshops at science festivals throughout the world.

Why are we here?
Since the dawn of civilisation human cultures have sought to understand our place in the universe, asking big questions about our cosmic origins. Modern cosmology provides some startling answers to these questions: not only is the universe expanding, but we believe the expansion to be accelerating - driven by a mysterious "dark energy" that challenges our ideas about gravity and the very nature of space and time. Moreover our runaway universe appears to be rather delicately balanced, in the sense that small changes in the laws of nature would result in a very different cosmos - most likely unsuitable for life like us.
What does all of this mean for our cosmic origins? Is our universe unique, or do we belong to a "multiverse" - a vast ensemble of universes, each with its own laws of nature? In this lecture we will explore these, and other, questions posed by the latest cosmological discoveries, and discuss what implications they might have for the existence of life in the universe.

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