From Oppenheimer’s Ideas to First Live Footage at JROMC Aug. 12 – Los Alamos Reporter

Professor Feryal Özel will speak on “Black Holes: From Oppenheimer’s Ideas to First Direct Images” on August 12 as part of the annual J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Lecture Series. Photo courtesy JROMC


The J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee is pleased to announce the resumption of its annual series of free Memorial Lectures.

The 49th J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Lecture will feature Professor Feryal Özel at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 12, at Duane Smith Auditorium, Los Alamos. The title of the conference is “Black holes: from Oppenheimer’s ideas to the first direct images”.

For a long time after Einstein’s formulation of the theory of general relativity, black holes were nothing more than a mathematical curiosity. Even after the groundbreaking work of Oppenheimer, who demonstrated that black holes can form in the Universe through natural processes, many skeptics remained. Over the decades since, astrophysicists have collected plenty of circumstantial evidence that black holes exist. In my talk, I’ll explain how the century-long quest resulted in the first-ever images of supermassive black holes with the Event Horizon Telescope. With these images, we can not only confirm their existence, but also perform unprecedented tests of the theory of general relativity.

Speaker biography:
Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Feryal Özel received her BS in Applied Physics and Mathematics from Columbia University and her Ph.D. in 2002 at Harvard University. After completing a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, Özel joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in 2005, where she worked as a professor of astronomy and physics and as associate dean. for research at the College of Science. Professor Özel joins Georgia Tech as President of the School of Physics, beginning in August 2022.

She is a co-investigator of the NASA Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) mission and has twice won the Bruno Rossi Award from the American Astronomical Society (NICER and EHT collaborations), as well as a number of honors, including a Joint Breakthrough Prize in Physics, and NSF Diamond Award of Excellence.

In 2016, Özel was named a Guggenheim Fellow, as well as a visiting professor and member of the Harvard University Black Hole Initiative. In 2017, she was honored as the annual Bishop Lecturer of Columbia University. She was also a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellow at Harvard University and Miller Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Özel is a fellow of the American Astronomical Society and an elected member of the American Physical Society. She is a past chair of the NASA Astrophysics Advisory Committee and the NASA Lynx X-ray Telescope Science and Technology Definition Team, and is currently an advisor to NANOGrav and the Miller Institute, as well as a Fellow of the Aspen Center. for Physics.

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