Hayden Planetarium Programs

Frontiers Lecture: Demystifying Black Holes

December 11, 2017

This artist concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun.

Black holes are both astrophysical phenomena and theoretical “laboratories” where scientists test their understanding of physics. From gravitational radiation to X-ray binary star systems, Steven Gubser and Frans Pretorius use creative thought experiments to explain the fantastical properties of black holes, and how the same qualities that capture the public imagination inform today’s research. 

A book signing follows.

About the Speakers

Steven Gubser is a professor of physics at Princeton University. He works on string theory, black holes, heavy ion collisions, and aspects of condensed matter theory and theoretical cosmology and focuses particularly on the gauge-string duality, which relates gauge theories in four flat spacetime dimensions to string theory in five or ten curved dimensions. In 2010, he wrote a book on string theory entitled The Little Book of String Theory.

Frans Pretorius is a professor of physics at Princeton University. His primary field of research is Einstein’s theory of general relativity and his specialty is in the numerical solution of field equations. Some of his new and ongoing projects include understanding the nature of gravitational wave emission from binary compact object mergers, the stability and dynamics of higher-dimensional black holes, and the nature of singularities that generically appear in black hole and cosmological spacetimes. 

Support for Hayden Planetarium Programs is provided by the Schaffner Family and the Horace W. Goldsmith Endowment Fund.