Join us for an evening with Dr. Karl Gebhardt, a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Texas, Austin. He studies various ‘dark’ aspects of galaxies, and has measured more black hole masses than anyone in the world.
"We are living in a unique time for Astronomy as its focus shifts from exploring the light side to mounting a full scale attack on the dark side: black holes, dark matter and dark energy. I will overview current and future battle plans that promise to bring about a fundamental transformation of our understanding of the Universe."
Karl Gebhardt is the Herman and Joan Suit Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. He grew up in the snow-filled winters of Rochester, NY. His career has taken him through Michigan State University, Rutgers University (where he received his PhD in 1994), fellowships at the University of Michigan and University of California at Santa Cruz, and eventually to University of Texas in 2000.
Dr. Gebhardt works on a variety of galaxy studies, ranging from black holes to dark matter to dark energy. He has won numerous awards, including Northeaster Graduate Schools Dissertation Award (1995), a Hubble Fellowship from NASA (1997), Teaching Excellence Awards fromthe University of Texas (2003) and McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors (2004), and a National Science Foundation Career Award. In 2012, he received the Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award in Science from the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas. He works with numerous undergraduate and graduate students, and involves them in all levels of his research. Most of his career has focused on understanding the role that black holes play in the formation of a galaxy. He has measured more black hole masses than anyone in the world, and he is actively targeting many more galaxies for this study. His recent work focused on understanding dark energy with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX). It was shown a few years ago that the Universe is expanding much faster than what had been expected. Scientists have called this extra expansion dark energy, a mysterious force that works to counteract the pull of gravity. It is actually pushing the Universe apart. Dr. Gebhardt and his colleagues have outlined a unique approach to study dark energy using the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory.
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