30 Oct 2012
The Christmas Lecture: Black holes and Revelations
This year's Mathematics Christmas Lecture will take place on 20th November at 6pm in CC011. The Christmas lectures are always entertaining and are a great opportunity for students to learn about exciting developments in mathematics. This year Professor Ruth Gregory will speak on the topic of "Black Holes and Revelations." All staff and students are welcome to attend, especially mathematics undergraduates. There will be free wine, soft drinks and snacks after the talk.
Black holes are one of the most fascinating objects in astrophysics, yet are based on an extremely mathematical theory: General Relativity. The black hole is one of the few exact solutions of Einstein gravity, and as such we can have a great deal of mathematical control over its physical properties.
General Relativity however, can simply be viewed as "Applied Differential Geometry", and there is no reason we should live in 4 dimensions, indeed, recent developments in high energy physics indicate we live in more than 4 dimensions.
Professor Gregory, who is a renowned expert in gravity and cosmology, will review black holes from a more mathematical perspective, talking about how we extract their physics in (relatively!) clean and easy ways. She will then describe what happens in more than 4 dimensions, and some of the fun ways in which geometry changes physics.
This will be the third Christmas lecture. Last year's speaker was John Barrow FRS, who spoke about mathematics and sport and in 2010 David Acheson spoke about mathematics and music.