Black Hole Enigma


April 26, 2024 3:30 PM - April 26, 2024 5:00 PM

In many ways, black holes remain extraordinarily mysterious objects despite the fact that their presence is now being observed with relative ease.

In this talk, I will describe the history of the subject and the various steps that have led to the discovery of the presence of black holes as astrophysical objects.

Examples include the final stages of stellar evolution, X-ray sources in binary systems, black hole collisions discovered by LIGO and the giant black holes that lie in the centers of galaxies, including our own. Black holes also power quasars, the brightest objects in nature.

Lastly, I will describe the discovery of Hawking radiation that gives glimpses into an as yet incomplete theory of quantum gravity. These ideas highlight one of the most perplexing problems in fundamental theoretical physics today, namely the information paradox. A resolution of this paradox requires some wholly new thinking about the nature of space and time and how to integrate these ideas with quantum mechanics.

No mathematics is needed.

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