Professor F. Douglas Swesty
Department of Physics and Astronomy
7:30 pm Room 001 ESS Building
Friday, December 5, 2008

Out with Bang! (or a whimper!): The death of a Massive Star

In 1934 astonomers Walter Baade and Fritz Zwicky postulated that a "Super Nova" explosion was caused by the collapse of the core of a massive star. For over five decades this was purely a theoretial speculation that was not confirmed experimentally until 1987 by the observations of neutrinos from supernova 1987A. Despite the fact that we now know what causes such superovae we still don't understand the "how": how the collapsing coe results in an tremendous explosion of a massive star. In this talk I will explain what we currently do, and do not, know about supernovae.

Prof. Swesty has been associated with astronomy at Stony Brook for twenty years, initially as a graduate student and then, after 5 years at the University of Illinois, returning as a faculty member. He has studied core collapse supernovae, neutron stars, the behavior of neutron stars in close binary systems, and the properties of neutron star material.