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Wendy Freedman: This new telescope might show us the beginning of the universe

When and how did the universe begin? A global group of astronomers wants to answer that question by peering as far back in time as a large new telescope will let us see. Wendy Freedman headed the creation of the Giant Magellan Telescope, under construction in South America; at TEDGlobal in Rio, she shares a bold vision of the discoveries about our universe that the GMT could make possible.

Wendy Freedman led the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope, a massive earthbound observatory.

Wendy Freedman and her colleagues raced to build the world’s first next-generation telescope. The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), in northern Chile, is one of three mega-telescopes currently under construction in the Atacama desert region (The others are the ALMA and the European Extremely Large Telescope, E-ELT).

The GMT will have 10 times more resolution than the Hubble Space Telescope. When it is finished, Freedman could be among those who answer one of astronomy’s greatest riddles: are there any other Earth-like planets out there? No stranger to big questions, Freedman and her colleagues at the Carnegie Observatories are also refining the measurement of the Hubble Constant, which could change our understanding of the speed of our expanding universe.

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