Authors of The View from the Center of the Universe will discuss our place in the cosmos in a free public lecture on Thursday, March 9

In a free public lecture and multimedia presentation next month in Santa Cruz, cosmologist Joel Primack and his wife, Nancy Abrams, will offer a preview of the remarkable ideas in their forthcoming book, The View from the Center of the Universe: Discovering Our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos (Penguin/Riverhead, April 2006).

Primack, a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Abrams, a writer and scholar interested in the history and philosophy of science, will speak on Thursday, March 9, at 8 p.m. at the UCSC Inn and Conference Center, 611 Ocean Street, in Santa Cruz. The event is part of the Halliday Lecture Series presented by UCSC's Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and UC Observatories/Lick Observatory.

For a decade, Primack and Abrams have been teaching a course at UCSC called Cosmology and Culture, from which their new book developed. In it, they argue that for the first time in human history a scientific theory of the universe as a whole is emerging--a theory that explains how the universe operates, what it's made of, where it came from, and how it is evolving.

Drawing from the latest discoveries and ideas in astrophysics and cosmology, Primack and Abrams show how humans are indeed central to the universe and what this might mean for our culture and our personal lives. The result is a science-based cosmology that allows people to understand the universe as a whole and their extraordinary place in it.

Primack is one of the world's leading cosmologists and an originator and developer of the theory of cold dark matter, now accepted as the standard theory of the structure and evolution of the universe. He and his team use some of the world's biggest supercomputers to simulate the evolution of the universe, and they compare the results with observational data. He has recently chaired the Forum on Physics and Society of the American Physical Society, as well as the Committee on Science, Ethics, and Religion of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is coauthor of Advice and Dissent: Scientists in the Political Arena.

Abrams is a lawyer, writer, and former Fulbright scholar, with a long-term interest in the history, philosophy, and politics of science. While working on the staff of the U.S. Congress, she cocreated a novel method by which government agencies can make wise policy decisions in cases involving scientific uncertainty, and she has consulted on this for the Swedish government, several state governments, and various corporations. Her articles have appeared in journals, magazines, and books. She has also released three albums of her songs and performed in 18 countries.

Additional information about The View from the Center of the Universe is available on the web at

The Halliday Lecture Series is made possible through the generous support of UC Santa Cruz Foundation trustee John Halliday to promote public awareness of astronomy and astrophysics. For additional information about the lecture, contact Sissy Madden at (831) 459-3581.