RAS Public Lecture: Weighing Black Holes

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Weighing Black Holes
Professor Martin Bureau (University of Oxford)(Venue: RAS Lecture Theatre - booking opens from 31st December, please email events@ras.org.uk) Black holes are now known to lurk at the centre of every galaxy, and to play a major role in the evolution of our universe. However, given their intrinsically small size, how this comes about remains shrouded in mystery. Professor Bureau will thus start with a brief look into the properties of light and the high-tech gadgetry that astronomers use to study the cosmos. He will further uncover the supermassive black holes hiding in galaxy centres, along with their importance for galaxy evolution. The current bag of tricks used to weigh black holes will be outlined, and the spectacular observations of the Milky Way black hole presented. Prof Bureau will then present a new, conceptually simple but powerful method to measure black holes developed in Oxford. This will exploit the new Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), the largest ground-based telescope project in existence, for which Europe, North America, and East Asia are all working together. The possibilities are, quite literally, astronomical. Be prepared to weigh your first black hole! Martin Bureau is a self-described galaxy guru, with an interest in anything and everything galactic. He is particularly interested in using observations and theoretical studies of the gas, stars, and dark matter that make up galaxies to constrain their formation and evolution. Martin is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford, and Lindemann Fellow and Tutor in Physics at Wadham College. He has been in Oxford for a decade, following appointments at Columbia University as a NASA Hubble Fellow and at Leiden University. He obtained his PhD from The Australian National University and is originally from Montreal, Canada. 
Website: www.ras.org.uk
Website: www.ras.org.uk