idalab seminar #22 - Signs of our times: Of black holes and red flags

idalab Seminar
idalab Seminar
Public group
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On April 13, 2019, the front pages of every major newspaper were adorned with the “first-ever” picture of a black hole – an invisible astronomical object popularized by J. Robert Oppenheimer around the same time that the nuclear bomb was developed. The simple red-orange circular blob was heralded as a triumph of modern data analysis techniques, involving terrabytes of data analyzed by a team of PhD students led by a media-savvy PhD student. In my talk, I will place this event in historical context as a representation of changing interpretations of the scientific method.

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Dr. Kirsten Hacker spent twenty years as a physicist before deciding to pursue independent projects. She writes prolifically about physics research and science communication in her blog. Her fictional work includes two novels in the Alix Strange Saga, a story about a poor girl who falls into a strange science wonderland and has trouble connecting to its odd inhabitants. She has learned that sometimes you can see a problem more clearly when you are not stuck in the middle of it.

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A video of the talk will be uploaded on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/user85814074