In accordance with Massachusetts regulations, capacity limits and other restrictions are in effect for in-person campus events. Please see Campus Event Guidance for Spring 2021 for more details.

CHC Williamson Lecture: 'Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space'

Event Details

September 26, 2019
5:30 pm

Commonwealth Honors College

Room: Events Hall

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Free admission
Natalie Georges

In her new book Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, cosmologist Janna Levin offers the authoritative story of the headline-making discovery of gravitational waves—the soundtrack to astronomy’s silent movie. But why was this scientific campaign so significant? And what does it mean for the sciences—and humanity—in general? During the fall 2019 Commonwealth Honors College Kathryn & Paul Williamson Lecture, Levin will explain the significance, beauty, and human story at the center of this fifty-year endeavor—bringing originality and lucidity to one of the discoveries of our age.

Janna Levin is the Director of Sciences and Chair of the Science Studios at Pioneer Works. She is also the Claire Tow Professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University. A Guggenheim Fellow, Janna has contributed to an understanding of black holes, the cosmology of extra dimensions, and gravitational waves in the shape of spacetime. She is the presenter of the NOVA feature Black Hole Apocalypse, aired on PBS—the first female presenter for NOVA in 35 years. Her previous books include How the Universe Got Its Spots and a novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, which won the PEN/Bingham Prize. Her latest book, Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, is the inside story on the discovery of the century: the sound of spacetime ringing from the collision of two black holes over a billion years ago.

Commonwealth Honors College welcomes Janna Levin to deliver the fall 2019 Willamson Lecture as part of its year-long 20th anniversary celebration. Established in 2000 by alumni Kathryn and Paul Williamson, the UMass lecture series brings distinguished visitors to the university to interact with Commonwealth Honors College students and present public talks.