Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture 2021

From the possibility to the certainty of a supermassive black hole

The fifteenth Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture, entitled From the Possibility to the Certainty of a Supermassive Black Hole, will be given by Professor Andrea Ghez, 2020 Nobel Laureate in Physics, from the United States.

Professor Ghez, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will talk about new developments in the study of supermassive black holes.

Through the capture and analysis of 20 years of high-resolution imaging, the UCLA Galactic Center Group has moved the case for a supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy from a possibility to a certainty, and provided the best evidence to date for their existence.

Recent observations have revealed an environment around the black hole that is quite unexpected - young stars where there should be none; a lack of old stars where there should be many; and a puzzling new class of objects. Professor Ghez will explore how this work is providing insight into how black holes grow and the role that they play in regulating the growth of their host galaxies.

Andrew Chamblin was a brilliant theoretical physicist who died suddenly in 2006 at the age of 36. He studied twistor theory and global methods in general relativity with Professor Sir Roger Penrose at Christ Church, Oxford in 1991-92, and was then admitted to St John's College, Cambridge to study for a PhD in Theoretical Physics under Professors Gary Gibbons and Stephen Hawking at the Department of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics.

Awarded a J.T. Knight Essay Prize, he was elected a Fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society and during this time his interests turned to quantum gravity and the superstring theory and supergravity (M-theory).

Andrew held several post-doctoral appointments, including at University of California Santa-Barbara, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was appointed Assistant Professor and University Scholar at the University of Louisville, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Kentucky. He published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and delivered many of these at conferences around the world. 

The Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture Fund was established at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics to endow an annual lecture in Andrew's name at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, on a subject of relevance to his life and work.

The inaugural lecture was given by Professor Hawking in 2007 entitled Out of a Black Hole and the first Andrew Chamblin Memorial Concert took place in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, the same year. It is also now held annually.

This year's lecture will take place at 5pm GMT on Wednesday 3 November online by Zoom with a Q&A afterwards.

Admission is free, but booking is required via the website. The Zoom details will be sent to all registered attendees before the Lecture.

Find out more about the Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture Fund

Published: 12/10/2021

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