A Century of Black Holes: Enigmas, Insights and Paradoxes

Event Date: 
May 20, 2015
Ted Jacobson, University of Maryland

Just one month after Einstein worked out the last kinks in his theory of general relativity in 1915, what may be the most perplexing consequence of the theory was discovered: the black hole. It was utterly misunderstood by its discoverers, by Einstein himself, and by most other researchers, but not by all. A half-century later, the black hole acquired its name, once its fundamental nature had finally been widely understood. That set the stage for a second half-century of astonishing discoveries: the role black holes play in the universe and at the foundations of physical theory, as well as a new set of perplexing puzzles they pose for today's researchers.

Speaker Bio: 
Ted Jacobson earned a Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Texas, Austin. After postdocs at UCSB and Brandeis, he moved to the University of Maryland where he currently works on gravitational theory. He is a Fellow of the APS and AAAS, and a Distinguished Visiting Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute. When he is not pondering the classical and quantum physics of black holes (and the puzzle of perilous plunges into these panptotic pits of the gravitational potential), he is playing guitar, taking walks and fixing things. Since discovering in 12th grade what physics was all about, he has been hooked. He still marvels at the mystery of humanity's access to such deep knowledge of the world.