Why determining the fate of the Universe forces you to learn any/every data science tool you can

Berkeley Distinguished Lectures in Data Science


September 19, 2017
4:10pm to 5:00pm
190 Doe Library
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There is nothing that focuses the mind like a burning question to be answered. For example, "Is the Universe going to come to an end?" Surprisingly, we can make a set of measurements that addresses this question. Surprisingly, these measurements can be understood by your friends and family when you go home after this talk. Perhaps unsurprisingly -- this is, after all, a data science colloquium -- almost every step along the way in working with these measurements puts the researchers in the role of data scientists. This is (often) the "domain scientists'" path into data science, and it is illuminating to explore the variety and depth of data science methodologies and tools that are then in play, sometimes at the leading edge and sometimes woefully behind the times.

The Berkeley Distinguished Lectures in Data Science, co-hosted by the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) and the Berkeley Division of Data Sciences, features faculty doing visionary research that illustrates the character of the ongoing data, computational, inferential revolution.  In this inaugural Fall 2017 "local edition," we bring forward Berkeley faculty working in these areas as part of enriching the active connections among colleagues campus-wide.  All campus community members are welcome and encouraged to attend.  Arrive at 3:30pm for tea, coffee, and discussion.


Saul Perlmutter

Faculty Director, Berkeley Institute for Data Science

Saul Perlmutter is a 2011 Nobel Laureate, sharing the prize in Physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe. He is the director of BIDS, a professor of physics at UC Berkeley (where he holds the Franklin W. and Karen Weber Dabby Chair), and a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  He is the leader of the international Supernova Cosmology Project, and executive director of the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics. His undergraduate degree was from Harvard and his PhD from UC Berkeley.  In addition to other awards and honors, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Perlmutter has also written popular articles, and has appeared in numerous PBS, Discovery Channel, and BBC documentaries.  His interest in teaching  scientific-style critical thinking for scientists and non-scientists alike led to Berkeley courses on Sense and Sensibility and Science and Physics & Music.