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Australian Astronomy Researcher to Discuss Fine-Tuning Universe for Life

February 15, 2017

KUTZTOWN, Pa. - Dr. Luke Barnes, a postdoctoral researcher at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, will present a lecture entitled A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely-Tuned Universe, Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. in the KU Planetarium, Grim Science Building. 

The planets, stars and galaxies that fill the night sky obey elegant mathematical patterns: the laws of nature. Why does our Universe obey these particular laws? As a clue to answering this question, scientists have asked a related question: what if the laws were slightly different? What if it had begun with more matter, had heavier particles or space had four dimensions? In the last 30 years, scientists have discovered something astounding: the vast majority of these changes are disastrous. We end up with a universe containing no galaxies, no stars, no planets, no atoms, no molecules and most importantly, no intelligent life-forms wondering what went wrong.This is called the fine-tuning of the universe for life.

After explaining the science of what happens when you change the way our universe works, we will ask: what does all this mean?

Barnes completed his doctorate degree at the University of Cambridge, England. He has published papers in the field of galaxy formation and on the fine-tuning of the universe for life.  His most recent book, A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely-Tuned Universe, which he co-authored with University of Sydney colleagues Geraint F. Lewis and Brian Schmidt, was released in October.

For more information on the event contact Dr. Joseph Jedwab, KU Department of Philosophy, at  For more information on Barnes visit