Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

Rocky Kolb
Rocky Kolb

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News Release

Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-3635

October 27, 2006

Cosmologist, author Rocky Kolb
will visit NIU on Friday, Nov. 3

DeKalb, Ill. — Cosmologist Rocky Kolb, a well known author, popular speaker and pioneering researcher on the early universe, will visit Northern Illinois University to lead a colloquium from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, in Faraday West 200.

The public is invited to attend the event, which will include a question-and-answer period.

Kolb is a founding head of the NASA/Fermilab Astrophysics Group at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia and a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago. He presently serves as director of Fermilab’s Particle Astrophysics Center.

Kolb’s book for the general public, “ Blind Watchers of the Sky,” received the 1996 Emme Award of the American Aeronautical Society. In addition to more than 200 scientific papers, he is a co-author of  “The Early Universe,” the standard textbook on particle physics and cosmology. He has appeared in several television productions, as well as the IMAX film “The Cosmic Voyage.”

“Rocky is an accomplished researcher and leader in the field of cosmology. He is also a highly sought-after public speaker who has lectured across the world. We’re thrilled to have him visit our campus,” NIU physicist Dhiman Chakraborty said. “I’ve heard Rocky speak many times, and he’s very entertaining and engaging.”

The field of Kolb’s research is the application of elementary-particle physics to the very early universe. In the first seconds after the Big Bang, extreme conditions of temperature and energy were similar to those produced in the high-energy collisions of particle accelerators, such as the Tevatron at Fermilab.

Kolb will speak about the remarkable observational results and bold theoretical ideas that have resulted in a standard cosmological model. Capable of precise predictions of many cosmological events, the model also suggests the existence of little understood dark matter, dark energy and an early inflationary period.

A native of New Orleans, Kolb is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society. He was the recipient of the 2003 Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the 1993 Quantrell Prize for teaching excellence at the University of Chicago. 

In addition to writing articles for magazines and books, he teaches cosmology to non-science majors at the University of Chicago and is involved with pre-college education, participating in Fermilab’s Saturday Morning Physics Program for high school students and the U.S. Department of Energy high school physics program for gifted students, as well as lecturing in institutes and workshops for science teachers.

More information on Kolb can be found at