August 31st, 2018 – Galaxy Clusters and Black Holes

Grounds for Science


with Nicholas Huang and Fatima Abdurrahman

Friday, August 31, 2018 at 6:30 PM at Scarlet City Espresso Bar

Searching for Galaxy Clusters from the South Pole

Galaxy clusters are made up of hundreds of galaxies, held together by the force of gravity. Nicholas will describe how scientists are using powerful telescopes in chilly places (i.e., the South Pole!) to detect and measure properties of galaxy clusters.
south pole aurora

Credit: Keith Vanderlinde

Nicholas Huang

Nicholas Huang

Nicholas Huang is a graduate student at UC Berkeley in the physics department. His research focus is on Cosmology, using the South Pole Telescope. And, yes, he has been to the South Pole.

Demystifying Black Holes

Despite their constant presence in sci-fi, black holes remain enigmatic to most people. What are they? What do they do? Do they even really exist? In this talk, Fatima will debunk the movie tropes and discuss what exactly a black hole is, why they are so hard to find, and how we can circumvent that difficulty and find them. From detecting gravitational waves created by two black holes smashing into each other, to watching stars orbit the supermassive blackhole at the center of our own galaxy, we will go through the insight and innovation that has led to our modern understanding of blackholes.
Black hole depiction

ESA advanced concepts team; S. Brunier /ESO

Fatima Abdurrahman

Fatima Abdurrahman

Fatima Abdurrahman is a third year PhD student in the UC Berkeley Department of Astronomy. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2015 with degrees in physics, astronomy, and Arabic studies. Over the years, her research has spanned the spectrum of astronomical subjects and techniques, from observational studies of black holes and active galactical nucleii, to numerical simulations of dust dynamics in the Pluto-Charon system, as well as work in instrumentation and physics/astronomy education.

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