Black holes continue to astound scientists who have spent their careers studying them. These dark giants are the most extreme objects in the universe—ubiquitous, frighteningly enigmatic, and central to the makeup of our galaxy. To explore the scope of our current understanding of black holes, astronomer Chris Impey makes his way to Town Hall with insight from his book Einstein’s Monsters—The Life and Times of Black Holes. He explores central questions at the cutting edge of astrophysics: what happens if you travel into a black hole―instant death or something weirder? How can we ever know anything for sure about black holes when they destroy information by their very nature?
Impey blends a compelling history of black holes’ role in theoretical physics with a poignant account of the phenomena scientists have witnessed while observing black holes: stars swarming like bees around the center of our galaxy; black holes performing gravitational waltzes with visible stars; the cymbal clash of two black holes colliding, releasing ripples in space-time. Join Impey and learn how our comprehension of black holes is intrinsically linked to the way we make sense of the universe and our place within it.
Chris Impey is a professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Beyond, How It Began, and How It Ends, and four other books, as well as two astronomy textbooks.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle and The Museum of Flight.