OWLS School: Exploring Einstein's Universe | October 2, 9 & 23

Posted on August 17, 2017 in Learning

Albert Einstein published his theory of general relativity in 1915; however, it is only now, a century later, that some of the more mind-bending results of Einstein's theory are being explored. For example, general relativity predicts that massive objects can bend light; the resulting "gravitational lensing" is being used today to find planets around other stars. In 1916, the astronomer Karl Schwarzschild first calculated the curvature of space around the compact objects that we now call "black holes"; today, astronomers are finding supermassive black holes lurking at the center of galaxies throughout our universe. Merging black holes, Einstein calculated in 1916, can produce ripples in space-time called "gravitational waves"; in 2015, gravitational waves were first discovered, from two black holes merging over a billion light-years away.

Finally, in 1917, Einstein predicted that space could contain what we now call "dark energy," a component of the universe that makes its expansion speed up; in 2011, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the observational discovery that the expansion of the universe is (you guessed it!)speeding up. Join me in an expedition through Einstein's universe, as we encounter gravitational lenses, black holes, gravitational waves, and dark energy.

If you would like to sign up for this course or want to see the full OWLS schedule, visit the OWLS page.

Barbara Ryden

Barbara Ryden received her PhD from Princeton University in 1987. After working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, she joined the astronomy faculty at the Ohio State University in 1992. Her research focuses on galaxy evolution and the large scale structure of the universe. Her award-winning textbook, "Introduction to Cosmology," was just published in a second edition by Cambridge University Press. At OSU, Professor Ryden has taught classes ranging from introductory courses for non-science majorsto seminars for advanced graduate students.