Professor James Lattimer
Department of Physics and Astronomy
7:30 pm Room 001 ESS Building
Friday, September 2, 2011

Black Holes Large and Small.

There is overwhelming evidence that our universe is filled with black holes, objects so compact that their escape velocities exceed the speed of light and nothing can escape from within them. Around a black hole there is a surface called an event horizon that marks the point of no return. Astrophysically detected black holes range in size from several times the mass of the sun to many billions of solar masses. The evidence largely comes from measuring the motion of objects orbiting these black holes, coupled with their invisibility in radiation. Although it is believed that stellar-sized black holes are the aftermath of particularly massive supernovae, it is not understood how supermassive black holes form. What roles do black holes play in the universe? Will we be able to directly see the event horizon of a black hole? Will we be able to observe them in gravitational radiation? These are some of the questions which will be discussed in this talk.

James Lattimer has been at Stony Brook for over 30 years and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He also studies ferroequinology and lives in East Setauket.