New Meetup: Fulvio Melia, 'Cracking the Einstein Code' talk and signing @ Harvard COOP

From: T.J. M.
Sent on: Friday, August 14, 2009 5:14 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Nerd Fun - Boston!

What: Fulvio Melia, 'Cracking the Einstein Code' talk and signing @ Harvard COOP

When: August 28,[masked]:00 PM

Harvard Square Coop
1400 Mass. Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138

From the Harvard COOP Bookstore site:

Discussion & Signing: Fulvio Melia

" 'Cracking the Einstein Code' is at once an explanation of what black holes are, a description of their place in the universe, and a scientific biography of Kerr. The uniqueness of Melia's book lies with Kerr's biography, a story that deserved to be told but wasn't until now".

Time: 07:00 PM-08:00 PM
Location: Level 3

Where to Meet:
Let's meet up outside and head in to grab seats together at 6:40 pm. They do have seats, don't they on the third floor when they hold these? Or is it standing room only? And anybody feel like recommending a place we can drop in for a quick bite to eat beforehand, like at 6:00 pm? Usually T.J. Maher picks "The Garage" in Harvard Square out of sheer convenience, commandeering tables and pushing them together, but he feels like someplace different. T.J. Maher is 5 foot 7 with short brown hair, blue eyes, a "Hello My Name is T.J." nametag, and a red MEETUP sign attached to his black messenger bag.

... please note this is NOT the Harvard Bookstore on the Au Bon Pain side of Harvard Square, where we usually go to listen to various author talks. This is the bookstore next to Bank of America.

About Fulvio Melia:

According to Wikipedia: "Fulvio Melia (born 2 August 1956) is an Italian-American physicist/astrophysicist and author. He is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Arizona and Associate Editor of the Astrophysical Journal Letters. A former Presidential Young Investigator and Sloan Research Fellow, he is the author of six books and more than 230 articles on theoretical astrophysics.

"Melia was born in Gorizia, Italy. He was educated at Melbourne University and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and held a post-doctoral research position at the University of Chicago before taking an assistant professorship at Northwestern University in 1987. [...]

"From 1996 to 2002, he was a Scientific Editor with the Astrophysical Journal, and since then has been an Associate Editor with the Astrophysical Journal Letters. He is also the Chief Editor of the Theoretical Astrophysics series of books at the University of Chicago Press.

"In a career that has seen him publish over 230 research papers and several books, Melia has made important contributions in High Energy Astronomy and the physics of supermassive black holes. He is especially known for his work on the Galactic center, particularly developing a theoretical understanding of the central supermassive black hole, known as Sagittarius A. With his students and collaborators, he was the first to propose imaging this object with millimeter-interferometry, which should be feasible within a few years, proving beyond any doubt that it possesses an event horizon, as predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity".

About Cracking the Einstein Code:

"Albert Einstein?s theory of general relativity describes the effect of gravitation on the shape of space and the flow of time. But for more than four decades after its publication, the theory remained largely a curiosity for scientists; however accurate it seemed, Einstein?s mathematical code?represented by six interlocking equations?was one of the most difficult to crack in all of science. That is, until a twenty-nine-year-old Cambridge graduate solved the great riddle in 1963. Roy Kerr?s solution emerged coincidentally with the discovery of black holes that same year and provided fertile testing ground?at long last?for general relativity. Today, scientists routinely cite the Kerr solution, but even among specialists, few know the story of how Kerr cracked Einstein?s code.

"Fulvio Melia here offers an eyewitness account of the events leading up to Kerr?s great discovery. Cracking the Einstein Code vividly describes how luminaries such as Karl Schwarzschild, David Hilbert, and Emmy Noether set the stage for the Kerr solution; how Kerr came to make his breakthrough; and how scientists such as Roger Penrose, Kip Thorne, and Stephen Hawking used the accomplishment to refine and expand modern astronomy and physics. Today more than 300 million supermassive black holes are suspected of anchoring their host galaxies across the cosmos, and the Kerr solution is what astronomers and astrophysicists use to describe much of their behavior.

"By unmasking the history behind the search for a real world solution to Einstein?s field equations, Melia offers a first-hand account of an important but untold story. Sometimes dramatic, often exhilarating, but always attuned to the human element, Cracking the Einstein Code is ultimately a showcase of how important science gets done".

About Roy Kerr:

According to Wikipedia: "Roy Patrick Kerr (born 1934) is a New Zealand mathematician who is best known for discovering the Kerr vacuum, an exact solution to the Einstein field equation of general relativity. His solution models the gravitational field outside an uncharged rotating massive object, including (most famously) a rotating black hole".

About the Harvard Coop:

"Students started the Coop (Harvard Cooperative Society) back in 1882 and students still come first with us. The Coop was founded by a group of Harvard students and established as a cooperative. In the beginning, the Coop was simply a place to buy books, school supplies and coal and wood for those cold Cambridge winters. In 1916, when MIT moved from Boston to Cambridge, The Coop was invited, by a committee of the Technology Alumni Council and joined by the then president of the Institute, Dr. R. C. Maclaurin, to establish a branch store at MIT (The Technology Store), and has been on the MIT campus ever since. The Coop has grown into one of America?s largest college bookstores; stocked with almost everything you?ll need on or off campus. Best of all, the annual membership fee is still only $1, as it was in 1882".

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