Alex Filippenko, an elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, is one of the world’s most highly cited astronomers and the recipient of numerous prizes for his scientific research. He was the only person to have been a member of both teams that revealed the accelerating expansion of the Universe, an amazing discovery that was honored with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics to the teams’ leaders and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics to all team members. Winner of the most prestigious teaching awards at UC Berkeley and voted the “Best Professor” on campus a record 9 times, he was named the National Professor of the Year in 2006. He has produced 5 astronomy video courses with The Great Courses, coauthored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appears in more than 100 television documentaries. In 2004, he was awarded the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. He enjoys tennis, hiking, photography, snorkeling, scuba diving, whitewater rafting, skiing, traveling the world, and spending time with his wife and children. Also, he is addicted to observing total solar eclipses, having seen 15 so far.
Observations reveal that the expansion of space between galaxies is speeding up, rather than slowing down because of gravity as expected. Over the largest distances, the Universe seems to be dominated by a mysterious, repulsive “dark energy” whose exact physical origin and nature are still unknown. If this accelerated expansion continues far into the future, […]