Image Credit: Sean Goebel
The Monster at the Heart of the Milky Way
Join us on Friday, March 21 at 7 pm for our astronomy lecture about the new developments in the study of black holes, which will be presented by Dr. Andrea M. Ghez. Through the capture and analysis of ten years of high-resolution imaging, Dr. Ghez and her team have moved the case for a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy from a possibility to a certainty. Additional spectroscopic data have revealed that the stars orbiting in close proximity of a black hole seem to be massive and young. The origin of these stars is a challenge to explain, but may provide key insight into the growth of the central black hole.
Andrea M. Ghez, a professor of Physics & Astronomy who holds the 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 earned her B.S in Physics from MIT in 1987, and her PhD from Caltech in 1992 and has been on the faculty at UCLA since 1994.
Working on the forefront of high resolution imaging, Professor Ghez's has used the Keck telescopes to demonstrate the existence of a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, with a mass 4 million times that of our Sun. This not only provides us with the best evidence yet that these exotic objects really do exist, but it also provides us with a wonderful opportunity to study the fundamental laws of physics in the extreme environment near a black hole and what role this black hole has played in the formation and evolution of our Galaxy. She has also discovered that most, if not all, stars shortly after birth have companion stars and that in most cases the separations of these companions pairs are smaller than the size of our Solar System. She has actively disseminated her work to a wide variety of audiences through more than 100 refereed papers and 200 invited talks, as well features in at least 15 textbooks and 15 documentaries, and 6 science exhibits. She is a member of the National Academies of Sciences & American Academy of Arts & Science and has received numerous awards, including a Crafoord Prize, a MacArthur Fellowship, the Aaronson Award from the University of Arizona, the Sackler Prize from Tel Aviv University, the American Physical Society’s Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award, the American Astronomical Society’ Newton Lacy Pierce, a Sloan Fellowship, a Packard Fellowship, and several teaching awards.
Professor Ghez serves on several committees and boards. Her most recent service work includes membership on the National Research Council’s Board on Physics & Astronomy and Astronomy 2010 Decadal Optical/Infrared Panel, the Thirty-Meter-Telescope’s Science Advisory Committee, the Keck Telescope Science Advisory Committee, Search Advisory Committees for UCLA’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Vice Provost for Diversity, the EVC/Provost's Faculty Work-Life Issues committee, UCLA’s Early Care and Education Advisory Board, and the Research Strategies Working Group of the UC Commission on the future.
Purchase your tickets today!
$10 General Admission, $5 Members/Students