200 years ago, ‘black holes’ remained an esoteric idea. Today, their existence has been confirmed experimentally but study of their origin and impact on their surroundings remain at the forefront of modern astronomy. Unable to travel to black holes, astronomers instead use the information encoded in light produced close to the black hole as a probe of their physical properties. Visible light to which our human eyes are most sensitive has enriched culture for thousands of years. However, this represents only a small fraction of the total light available for collection; recent technological advances have allowed astronomers to harvest light from across the electromagnetic spectrum and - with the first detection of gravitational waves from merging black holes – probe the nature of space time itself. Professor Mundell will give a whirlwind tour of black holes, explaining their importance for galaxy evolution and the cataclysmic death of massive stars, and how advanced robotic technology is opening new windows on the black-hole driven dynamic Universe. In doing so, she will try to give a flavour of the hectic life of an astronomer in the modern era of robotic telescopes and real-time discoveries.
Professor Carole Mundell was appointed Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in October 2018. She is Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy, Head of Astrophysics at the University of Bath and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. Her career highlights include Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2011 to 2016) for the study of black hole-driven explosions and the dynamic Universe; FDM Everywoman in Technology Woman of the Year (2016); Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Board Member and STFC Skills and Engagement Advisory Board Chair (2015). Carole studied at the University of Glasgow where she gained a BSc in Physics before working at the Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchester, where she completed a PhD in Astrophysics. She later moved to the University of Maryland before joining Liverpool John Moores University, where she received her first professorship in 2007. A world-leading scientist, she is a frequent guest speaker at international conferences. She sits on a number of strategic advisory panels for UK and international groups, is a committed communicator of science, and is an advocate for diversity in science.
In English, translation to Bulgarian.
In partnership with the British Embassy Sofia.