Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Astronomy speaker series brings top national experts to campus

The Winter 2009 Theme Semester “The Universe: Yours to Discover” includes an Astronomy of the 21st Century Distinguished Speaker Series, that brings some of the field’s top experts to campus.

Upcoming lectures include:
• Feb. 20 Prof. Andrea Ghez, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California Los Angeles and 2008 MacArthur genius award recipient, will present a close up portrait of the super massive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Definitive proof of a massive central black hole is provided by the motion of stars in the immediate vicinity. Based on 14 years of high resolution imaging, Dr. Ghez's team has moved the case for a super massive black hole at the Galactic Center from a possibility to a certainty. Her team also has revealed that the stars orbiting in such close proximity are apparently massive and young. The origin of these stars is difficult to explain, given the strong tidal forces, and may provide key insight into the growth of the central black hole.

• March 13, Joseph Taylor, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics at Princeton University and 1993 Nobel Prize winner, will deliver a lecture titled “Binary Pulsars and Relativistic Gravity.”

• April 3, Fred Adams U-M professor of physics and 1996 Warner Prize winner, will give a lecture titled “The Future of our Universe: From the 21st Century to the End”.

All lectures are 7:30 p.m. in 1800 Dow Chemistry Building.

Sponsors include the Department of Astronomy, Exhibit Museum of Natural History, Student Astronomical Society and Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics
For more information on the these and other theme semester events go to