Event Horizon Telescope: Imaging a Black Hole Through Global Collaboration
Speaker: Shep Doeleman, PhD, at Center for Astrophysics
Date: November 9, 2020 - 5:30PM
What can medicine learn about collaboration and data sharing from one of the most successful team science projects of all time--creating a telescope the diameter of the earth to snap an image of a black hole? Black holes are cosmic objects so massive and dense that their gravity forms an event horizon: a region of spacetime from which nothing, not even light, can escape. Einstein's theories predict that a distant observer should see a ring of light encircling the black hole, which forms when radiation emitted by infalling hot gas is lensed by the extreme gravity. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a global array of radio dishes that forms an Earth-sized virtual telescope, which can resolve the nearest supermassive black holes where this ring feature may be measured. On April 10th, 2019, the EHT project reported success: we have imaged a black hole and have seen the predicted strong gravitational lensing that confirms the theory of General Relativity at the boundary of a black hole. This talk will describe the project, and the global collaborative approach that produced these first results, as well as future directions that will enable real-time black hole movies.
Shep Doeleman, PhD is an Astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics and the Founding Director of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, a synchronized global array of radio observatories designed to examine the nature of black holes. Dr. Doeleman led the international team of researchers that produced the first directly observed image of a black hole. Dr. Doeleman was awarded the 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics as the Founding Director of the EHT Collaboration for the first image of a supermassive black hole. Dr. Doeleman was named one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2019 by Time magazine.