Special Events

Video from the 2018 Robert Hofstadter Memorial Lecture

Mon April 2nd 2018, 7:30pm
Hewlett Teaching Center Room 200
Free and open to the public
Video from the 2018 Robert Hofstadter Memorial Lecture

The Physics Department is very pleased to announce that the 2018 Robert Hofstadter Memorial lecture will be given by Prof. Vicky Kalogera, Co-founder and current Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) and the Daniel I. Linzer Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University (see bio below).  For more information contact tice [at] stanford.edu

Prof. Vicky Kalogera

Daniel I. Linzer Distinguished University Professor
Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University

Evening Public Lecture (7:30 PM on Monday, April 2, 2018)
Hewlett Teaching Center, 370 Serra Mall, Rm. 200
Please note this year's earlier start time

"Cosmic Collisions Reveal Einstein's Gravitational-Wave Universe"

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos. Gravitational waves carry unique information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the mergers of two black holes but also during the last hundred seconds of the collision of two neutron stars. The latter is the first ever cosmic event to be observed both in gravitational waves and in electromagnetic waves, shedding light on several long-standing puzzles, like the production of gold in nature and the physics origins of brief gamma-ray flashes. I will review the beginnings of this exciting field of cosmic exploration and the unprecedented technology and engineering that made it possible. 

Afternoon Colloquium (4:30 PM on Tuesday, April 3, 2018)
Hewlett Teaching Center, 370 Serra Mall, Rm. 201

The Dawn of Gravitational-Wave Astrophysics"

In the past two years the gravitational-wave detections enabled by the LIGO detectors have launched a new field in observational astronomy allowing us to study compact object mergers involving pairs of black holes and neutron stars. I will discuss what current results reveal about compact object astrophysics, from binary black hole formation to short gamma-ray bursts and nuclear matter physics. I will also highlight what we can expect in the near future as detectors' sensitivity improves and multi-messenger astronomy further advances. 

SPEAKER BIO:  Vicky Kalogera is the lead astrophysicist in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), LIGO being the telescopes that first detected gravitational waves in 2015. She is an expert in the astrophysics of black holes and neutron stars and in LIGO data analysis, and has been a member of the LSC for more than 15 years. Kalogera’s astrophysics research involves methods from applied mathematics, statistics and computer science, with extensive use of high-performance computing. Kalogera also studies the formation and evolution of stars and their remnants detectable as gamma-ray, X-ray, and radio pulsar sources in the electromagnetic spectrum in a wide range of stellar environments. Kalogera was recently awarded the 2018 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics by the American Institute of Physics and the American Astronomical Society.