BSA Distinguished Lecture, 9/25: First Image of a Black Hole

Astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman

Astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman Photo credit: TED Talks

Astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman will give a talk, titled "Seeing the Unseeable: Making the First Image of a Black Hole," at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory on Wednesday, Sept. 25. His talk, a BSA Distinguished Lecture, will be held at 4 p.m. in Berkner Hall.

Doeleman is director of the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration that announced on April 10, 2019, it captured the first-ever image of a black hole in space. Black holes are cosmic objects so small and so dense that nothing, not even light, can escape their gravitational pull.

Capturing this image of a black hole was, in itself, a monumental accomplishment. Equally if not more awe-inspiring, however, the image showed a ring of light that confirmed Albert Einstein’s theory about general relativity and the boundary of a black hole. During Doeleman’s talk, he will discuss the collaboration’s achievement, details of the first results, and future directions.

About the Speaker

Doeleman is an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics, which combines the resources and research facilities of the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. He is also a senior research fellow at Harvard and co-leader of Harvard’s recently established Black Hole Initiative.

Doeleman was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2012 and he received a DAAD German Academic Exchange grant for research at the Max Planck Institute für Radioastonomie.

Doeleman earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics at MIT in 1995 and his bachelor’s in physics from Reed College in 1986. During his time between Reed and MIT, Doeleman spent a year in Antarctica, conducting upper atmospheric experiments at McMurdo Station on the Ross Ice Shelf and gaining appreciation for field work in challenging conditions. He was a postdoc at MIT and eventually served as assistant director of the MIT Haystack Observatory before moving to the Center for Astrophysics in 2012.

About BSA Distinguished Lectures

BSA Distinguished Lectures are sponsored by Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA), the company that manages Brookhaven Lab, to present topics of general interest to the Laboratory community and the public. These lectures are free and open to the public.

All visitors to the Laboratory 16 and older must bring a photo ID.

Doeleman's talk is being presented in conjunction with the 2019 Brookhaven Forum on particle physics and cosmology in the coming decade.

This lecture is scheduled to be webcast live on WBNL.

Brookhaven Lab is located on William Floyd Parkway, one-and-a-half miles north of Exit 68 of the Long Island Expressway. Maps

2019-16802  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom