The Monster at the Heart of the Milky Way

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 11:00p.m.
United States

Andrea Ghez, Professor of Physics & Astronomy who holds the Lauren B. Leichtman & Arthur E. Levine Chair in Astrophysics, is one of the world's leading experts in observational astrophysics and heads UCLA's Galactic Center Group. By studying the motions of stars, Ghez provides the best evidence that supermassive black holes exist, challenging our knowledge of fundamental physics and suggesting that most, if not all, galaxies harbor such objects at their cores. Her work has also shown that the environment near a central supermassive black hole looks nothing like what was expected. In the near future, she hopes to test Einstein's theory of relativity, as well as theories of galaxy formation and evolution confronting time-honored hypotheses.

Ghez earned her BS in Physics from MIT in 1987, and her PhD from Caltech in 1992 and has been on the faculty at UCLA since 1994. She has received numerous honors and awards including the Crafoord Prize in Astronomy (she is the first woman to receive a Crafoord Prize in any field), MacArthur Fellowship, and election to the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. Her work can be found in many public outlets, including TED, NOVA's Monster of the Milky Way, Discovery's Swallowed by a Black Hole, and Griffith Observatory.

For more information see the UCLA Galactic Center Group website.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Liberal Arts, Deans' Office, University of Chicago Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and the Brinson Foundation.