Dr Julian Berengut
University of NSW
Dr Berengut’s research centres on the ‘Goldilocks’ riddle: Why is the Universe ‘just right’ for life to exist? He seeks to test whether the laws of physics are fixed everywhere in the Universe, or whether they change over space or time. One way of testing this is to see whether the values of the fundamental constants of nature, like the speed of light, are different in very distant galaxies. If these “constants” aren’t really constant at all, then we will have solved the Goldilocks riddle and have a much better understanding of our place in the Universe. More recently, he has been working on complementary laboratory tests to confirm the cosmological spatial gradient seen by astronomers, showing that highly sensitive clocks based on transitions in highly-charged ions could reach the sensitivity required, more than two orders-of-magnitude better than current clocks.
Julian has been profiled in NewScientist, USA Today and The Sydney Morning Herald and also on Radio National and FBi 94.5 (Sydney), as well as presenting his research in a UNSW School of Physics Outreach Lecture. He has also collaborated with Australian artist Connie Anthes, co-producing two works that explore the art-science nexus: “Science Fictions” at Index Studios (March 2011); and “Imposter Complex” at Damien Minton Gallery (August 2012). Additionally he has been scientific advisor for established artists including James Gulliver Hancock and Michaela Gleave.