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Darkness Visible: Shedding New Light on Black Holes

Black holes may hold the key to understanding the most fundamental truths of the universe, but how do you see something that’s, well, black? Astronomers think they have the answer. Thanks to a global array of radio telescopes that turn the Earth into a giant receiver, we may soon have the first picture of the event horizon of Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. And, with the power of math, scientists are going even further, using equations to “look” inside black holes, peering at the central singularity where general relativity and quantum mechanics collide. Join Brian Greene and other leading physicists and astronomers on a journey to make darkness visible.

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Darkness Visible: Shedding New Light on Black Holes

Black holes may hold the key to understanding the most fundamental truths of the universe, but how do you see something that’s, well, black? Astronomers think they have the answer. Thanks to a global array of radio telescopes that turn the Earth into a giant receiver, we may soon have the first picture of the event horizon of Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. And, with the power of math, scientists are going even further, using equations to “look” inside black holes, peering at the central singularity where general relativity and quantum mechanics collide. Join Brian Greene and other leading physicists and astronomers on a journey to make darkness visible.

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Moderator

Brian Greene
Brian GreenePhysicist, Author

Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in his field of superstring theory. His books, The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality, have collectively spent 65 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

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Participants

Shep DoelemanAstronomer

Shep Doeleman is an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where 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.

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Andrea GhezAstrophysicist

Andrea M. Ghez, professor of Physics & Astronomy and Lauren B. Leichtman & Arthur E. Levine chair in Astrophysics, is one of the world’s leading experts in observational astrophysics and heads UCLA’s Galactic Center Group. She is best known for her ground-breaking work on the center of our Galaxy, which has led to the best evidence to date for the existence of supermassive black holes.

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Vicky KalogeraAstrophysicist

Vicky Kalogera directs the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA), and is the Daniel I. Linzer Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern. Kalogera is lead astrophysicist in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC)

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Cumrun VafaPhysicist

Cumrun Vafa is a Donner Professor of Science in the Department of Physics at Harvard University. He received his BS in Math and Physics from MIT and his PhD in Physics from Princeton University under the direction of Edward Witten. Vafa’s primary area of research is string theory.

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