Black Holes and Galaxies

27 July 2009

Professor Reinhard Genzel

Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Germany and Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley

Evidence has been accumulating for several decades that many galaxies harbor central mass concentrations that may be in the form of black holes with masses between a few million to a few billion time the mass of the Sun. Professor Reinhard Genzel discussed measurements over the last two decades, employing high resolution infrared and radio imaging and spectroscopy on large ground-based telescopes that prove the existence of such a massive black hole in the Centre of our Milky Way, beyond any reasonable doubt. These data also provide key insights into its properties and environment. Future interferometric studies of the Galactics Centre black hole promise to be able to test gravity in its strong field limit. He also briefly summarised the cosmological evolution of massive black holes.

Broad Topics: Physical Science

Sub-topics: Astronomy & Astrophysics

Areas: ANU College of Science

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Lecture Recording (MP3, 46.8MB) HH:MM:SS=01:08:10

Professor Reinhard Genzel

Reinhard Genzel received his PhD from the University of Bonn, Germany in 1978. He became a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) in 1980 and joined the Physics Department faculty as Associate Professor in 1981. In 1986 he was Director at the Max-Planck Institut für Physik in Munich where he is also Honorary Professor at the Ludwig-Maximilian University. In 1999 he went back to UCB as part-time Professor. He has been awarded the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max-Planck Society (1979), Presidential Investigator Award (1983), Newton Lacy Pierce Prize of the American Astronomical Society (1986), Leibniz Prize of the German Science Foundation (1990), Foreign Member of the Academie des Sciences (France, 1998), Lyman Spitzer Lecturer (Princeton, 1998), Sackler Lecturer 2000 (Princeton University), Oort Professor 2000 (Leiden University), de Vaucouleurs Medal 2000 (University of Texas, Austin), Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences (2000) and Prix Janssen (2001).