Filippenko Brings Universe to Gustavus as Rydell Scholar

Celebrated astronomer Alex Filippenko will be on campus from May 9-12 and will offer two free public lectures.
Posted on May 3rd, 2022 by

by Juliet White ’23

The 2022 Rydell Professorship at Gustavus Adolphus College will host scholar-in-residence Dr. Alex Filippenko from May 9-12 . Filippenko is one of the world’s most highly cited astronomers and has been involved with some of the most exciting and impactful observational astronomy studies of the last 30 years. He is Professor of Astronomy and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Dr. Alex Filippenko

When asked why the department sought out Dr. Filippenko as the Rydell Scholar, Gustavus professor of physics and environmental studies Chuck Niederriter replied: “Many of us thought that Alex Filippenko was the star of Nobel Conference 49, The Universe at Its Limits, for his great talk on the accelerating expansion of the Universe, his thoughtful questions during the discussion during the question and answer periods, and enthusiasm for the science.  So, he was a natural choice for a Rydell Professor. He is someone who has done great  and important science, knows how to present that science to a lay audience, and who relates well with students.  He has visited my class (virtually) once so far this spring but my students keep asking when he will be coming back.”

During his time at Gustavus, Dr. Alex Filippenko will be giving two free, public lectures. The first, Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe, will take place on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. in Wallenberg Auditorium in the Nobel Hall of Science. This lecture is intended for a general audience that is interested in space.

The second lecture, Type Ia Supernovae and the Accelerating Universe, will be on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wallenberg Auditorium. This lecture is intended for those with a background in physics. Both lectures will be livestreamed and archived on the Rydell website.

“If you have an interest in astronomy, astrophysics, or cosmology, the topic of the accelerating expansion of the Universe will be exciting to you. Understanding the details of the Universe will help us better understand how the Universe came into existence, what its history has been, and what its future holds,” Niederriter said. “If you have an interest in cutting-edge science, you will enjoy the lectures for the elegance of the presentation, the use of demos and analogies, and the enthusiasm with which Dr. Filippenko presents the material. I believe you will find the lectures very entertaining.”

The Rydell Professorship at Gustavus Adolphus College is a scholar-in-residence program designed to bring Nobel laureates and similarly distinguished scholars to the campus as catalysts to enhance learning and teaching. The Rydell Professorship was established in 1993 by Drs. Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell to give students the opportunity to learn from and interact with leading scholars.

For more information visit the Rydell Professorship website.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin



  1. Christine Neff says:

    I would like to live stream this, can you tell me how/where I get the link. I have tried the Rydell website link listed above but it doesn’t show me anything.. If I use that link at the time the lecture starts, will I go directly to a live feed?

    Thank you for your assistance!
    Christine (Beaver) Neff ‘83

  2. JJ Akin '11 says:

    Hi Christine, the lectures will be livestreamed on the Rydell webpage linked above. The livestream information will be added to the website early next week.

    Thank you!

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