Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture 2023

Public talk on ‘Illuminating the Dark Universe with Gravitational Waves’

The 17th Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture, entitled Illuminating the Dark Universe with Gravitational Waves, will be given in Cambridge by Professor Alessandra Buonanno, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics based in Potsdam, Germany.

The public talk will take place on Tuesday 14 November 2023 at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge.

For centuries, humans have explored the Universe and discovered novel astrophysical sources and phenomena only through the observation of electromagnetic waves (gamma rays, X-rays, optical, infrared, radio waves). In 2015, we observed the first gravitational wave passing through the Earth produced by the merger of two stellar-mass black holes. Such an event has provided us with a remarkable confirmation of the general theory of relativity by Albert Einstein, and ushered in the era of gravitational-wave astronomy. Since then, about 100 gravitational waves have been detected, including the gravitational signal produced by the coalescence of two neutron stars, accompanied by a plethora of electromagnetic counterparts observed by numerous telescopes around the world.

Prof Alessandra Buonnanno
Professor Alessandra Buonanno. Image credit: Markus Scholz für die Leopoldina.

In this talk, Professor Alessandra Buonanno will highlight how the novel astronomical messengers are already unveiling distinctive properties of the most extreme astrophysical objects in the Universe, and discuss the discovery potential of future observatories in space and on the ground, which will open new frequency bandwidths.

The annual lecture is named in memory of Andrew Chamblin, 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).

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 memorial lecture will take place from 5-6.15pm GMT on Tuesday 14 November in Meeting Room 2 at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Wilberforce Road, Cambridge CB3 0WA. 

Tickets are free but booking is required via the Faculty of Mathematics Events page.

The lecture will also be livestreamed online.

Find out more about the Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture Fund

Published: 27/9/2023

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