University of Pittsburgh
April 7, 1998


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, April 8 -- One of the great challenges in science is understanding the origin of the universe, but even more mysterious is what came before the universe began to take shape. This is the subject of the Margaret B. Hays Distinguished Lecture by noted British physicist Martin J. Rees, Monday, April 13, at 4 p.m. in the Public Health Auditorium, room G23 of the Graduate School of Public Health, on the Pitt campus, Oakland. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Rees is Astronomer Royal, Royal Society Research Professor, Fellow of King's College Cambridge, and former Director of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University. He is renowned for his work in high energy physics and cosmology and for his theories on the forces and nature of physics before the beginning of the universe. His lecture at Pitt is titled: "Before the Beginning: Our Universe and Others."

"Sir Martin is one of the most influential astrophysicists in the past 20 years," said Cyril Hazard, Mellon Professor of Physics at Pitt. "He's made considerable contributions to the understanding of radio sources, quasars and galaxy formation; profound contributions to the whole area of cosmology. We now have the opportunity at Pitt to get an understanding of the origin of the universe from one of the foremost scientists in the field."

Rees is the author of more than 400 research papers, and writes and lectures widely for general audiences. His book "Gravity's Fatal Attraction" is now in paperback; another, "Before the Beginning" was released last October. He has held visiting positions at Harvard, Princeton, CalTech and the Smithsonian Institution. He is past president of the Royal Astronomical Society and the British Association for the Advancement of Science.