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Faculty of Sciences and Humanities

FSH Seminar Series

2022 FSH Fall Seminar I : The Biography of a Black Hole: How an Idea Once Hated by Physicists Came to Be Loved

AuthorFaculty of Sciences and Humanities REG_DATE2022.11.03 Hits278

2022 FSH Fall Seminar I:

The Biography of a Black Hole: How an Idea Once Hated by Physicists Came to Be Loved

  • DateWednesday, November 2, 2022

  • Time12:30 PM - 14:00 PM

Speaker: Dr. Marcia Bartusiak

Dr. Marcia Bartusiak has combined her undergraduate training in journalism at American University with a master’s
degree in physics from Old Dominion University, Marcia Bartusiak has been covering the fields of astronomy and physics for more than four decades.
A Professor of the Practice Emeritus in the Graduate Program in Science Writing at MIT(Massachusetts Institute of Technology), she is the author of seven books on astrophysics and the history of astronomy, including Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony on gravitational-wave astronomy (winner of the 2001 American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award) and The Day We Found the Universe (winner of the History of Science Society's Davis Prize).
In 2008 she was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science,
cited for “exceptionally clear communication of the rich history, the intricate nature, and the
the modern practice of astronomy to the public at large.”

Abstract

For more than half a century, physicists and astronomers engaged in heated dispute over the possibility of black holes in the universe. The strange notion of a space-time abyss from which no light can escape seemed to confound all logic. This lecture will recount the frustrating, exhilarating, and at times humorous battles over the years as physicists, from Albert Einstein to
Stephen Hawking, wrestled with this dazzling idea. Dr. Bartusiak will show how the black hole helped revive Einstein’s greatest achievement, the general theory of relativity, after decades of languishing in obscurity. Not until astronomers discovered such surprising new phenomena as neutron stars and quasars did the once-sedate universe transform into an Einsteinian cosmos, filled with both black holes and sources of titanic energy that can be understood only in the light of relativity.