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Shep Doeleman


Shep Doeleman received his B.A. from Reed College in 1986 and left soon after for a year in Antarctica where he ran multiple experiments in the polar cusp program at McMurdo Station on the Ross Ice Shelf. With an appreciation for the challenges and rewards of instrumental work in difficult circumstances, he returned to complete a Ph.D. in Astrophysics at MIT. Now as an astronomer and senior research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, he leads the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) whose goal has been to image the event horizon of a black hole: the boundary where gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape. The EHT does this by linking radio dishes around the globe into a virtual Earth-sized telescope with the highest angular resolution possible from the surface of our planet. On April 10th, 2019, the EHT project announced the first image of a black hole, confirming (at least for the moment) Einstein’s theories at the boundary of a supermassive black hole, and opening a new window onto the study of these most mysterious objects. Doeleman is working now on next steps to improve the EHT, sharpening our focus on black holes even further by adding to the global array and extension to telescopes in space. The goal now is to move beyond still images and make real-time movies of black holes. Doeleman was awarded the 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics as the Founding Director of the EHT Collaboration for the first image of a supermassive black hole.

Past Programs Featuring Shep Doeleman

Friday, May 31, 2019 | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm