September 15, 2021. 7:00pm (Mountain Time). Online only. Free and open to the public. Registration required.Professor Mitchell Begelman

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About the Event 

Black Holes are Fussy Eaters

Black holes are often regarded as cosmic vacuum cleaners, but it is actually rather hard to get them to eat.  And when they do feed, they make a mess, disturbing their surroundings out to thousands or even millions of light years.

I will explain why black holes are “fussy eaters” and why the messes they make are important for the evolution of the Universe (and for our place in it).  I will also say something about recent efforts to image black holes and last year's Physics Nobel Prize, which was awarded in part for the discovery of the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way. 

About the Speaker

Professor Begelman is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences. He served three terms as department chairman. He has made highly influential contributions to high-energy theoretical astrophysics. His ground-breaking papers on the origins of extragalactic radio sources, “quasi-stars,” and the astrophysics of black holes have made seminal contributions to our understanding of and evidence for black holes in the Universe. He is one of the world’s pre-eminent scholars on the evidence for and astrophysical phenomena related to black holes, including active galactic nuclei, extragalactic radio sources, and accretion disks. His many national awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Helen B. Warner Prize of the American Astronomical Society, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, and a Presidential Young Investigator Award.  He was also awarded the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award in 1996 for the book he co-authored with Sir Martin Rees, “Gravity’s Fatal Attraction: Black Holes in the Universe”, which has been translated into five languages. His second popular book, “Turn Right at Orion; Travels Through the Cosmos,” was published in 2000.

Professor Begelman has trained a generation of PhD students and postdoctoral scholars working in High-Energy Astrophysics, accretion disks, and black-hole astrophysics. These individuals are now on the faculty at many universities. He developed and frequently teaches one of the most popular introductory courses for non-majors in the department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, “Introduction to Black Holes.” His popular book “Gravity’s Fatal Attraction” is used for this course, and in similar courses around the country.

About the Series

The CU Boulder Retired Faculty Association (UCBRFA) presents the distinguished professors of the University of Colorado, a lecture and presentation series featuring some of our finest professors and their extraordinary research and scholarly work.