Department of Physics and Astronomy
Stony Brook University
7:30 pm; via Zoom
Friday, November 06, 2020

The Relativity of Space and Time in Popular Science

Dr. Richard Anantua

Through a series of popular examples in literature and film, I present landmarks in our evolving understanding of space, time and matter/fields in the Universe: from classical electrodynamics to relativity-- a pillar of modern physics. Popular science works such as H. G. Wells' "The Time Machine" (1895) and "Interstellar" (2014) (directed by Christopher Nolan) will be used to motivate and reinforce quantitative concepts by means of often vivid and engaging illustrations, with a hint of social commentary. We will also appreciate primary sources such as Einstein’s "Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" as well as seminal scientific developments such as the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae (2011 Nobel Prize in Physics) and the first image of the shadow of a black hole by the Event Horizon Telescope in April 2019.

Dr. Richard Anantua is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian and Black Hole Initiative at Harvard, and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Computational Astrophysics and Stony Brook University. As a member of the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, Richard links observational features of near-horizon shadows of supermassive black holes to the plasma physics of nearby accretion disks and jets which light them up. Prior to Harvard, Richard held a postdoctoral/instructor position at U.C. Berkeley after completing his Ph.D. in Physics at Stanford under Prof. Roger Blandford and a B.S. from Yale in (Physics & Philosophy) and (Economics & Mathematics).