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Frank K. Edmondson Astronomy Public Lecture Series

The annual F. K. Edmondson Astronomy Public Lectures were established to honor the memory of Professor Frank Kelly Edmondson, a faculty member of the Department of Astronomy at Indiana University from 1937 until his retirement in 1983, and as Chair of the Department from 1944 until 1978. Professor Edmondson is remembered not only for his contributions to the study of asteroids through the Indiana Asteroid Program, but also for his dedication and service to Indiana University and to the astronomical community. The Edmondson Lectures are endowed in honor of Professor Edmondson by his family and friends.

The 6th Annual F. K. Edmondson Astronomy Public Lecture
Wednesday January 30, 7:30pm
Swain West 119

Cosmic Collisions Reveal Einstein's Gravitational-Wave Universe

Vicky Kalogera (Northwestern University)

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from cataclysmic events in the distant universe. These recent observations confirm a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity and open an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos. Gravitational waves carry unique information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the mergers of two black holes but also during the last hundred seconds of the collision of two neutron stars. The latter is the first ever cosmic event to be observed both in gravitational waves and in electromagnetic waves, shedding light to several long-standing puzzles, like the production of gold in nature and the physics origins of brief gamma-ray flashes. I will review the beginnings of this exciting field of cosmic exploration and the unprecedented technology and engineering that made it possible.


2018/19: Vicky Kalogera
2017: Wendy Freedman
2016: Josh Winn
2015: Kathryn Johnston
2014: Martha P. Haynes
2013: David Morrison