Professor Schmidt explained that apart from more powerful telescopes, it was high performance computers which allowed for observations. He also mentioned the role of competition, with two groups of astronomers. One team concluded the universe was slowing down, as expected and then changed their minds, causing the two teams to rush to publication.
Professor Schmidt's presentation was interrupted by a problem with the presentation from his laptop. This was a useful reminder that technology being used in education needs to be reliable. In this case the computer built into the lecture theater could be used as a backup and continue the presentation.
In answer to a question Professor Schmidt said he is now working on "SkyMapper", a relatively small 1.35 metre telescope, but with very fast image processing, recording 100 Megabytes of data per second. This can then be used to detect rapid changes in the sky.
In answer to another question Professor Schmidt speculated the Large Hadron Collider may discover dark matter.
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