Profs and Pints Richmond presents: “All the Light in the Universe,” a look at how the James Webb Space Telescope and other technological advances are showing us previously invisible space phenomena, with Jack Singal, associate professor of physics at the University of Richmond and former researcher at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Stanford University.
The spellbinding images being provided us by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope serve as a reminder that there is much more to the universe than meets the eye. Our vision is sensitive to only a tiny fraction of the light that exists out there, the so-called “visible” light. It leaves us oblivious to the infrared light that the Webb telescope detects, as well as many other forms of light observed by contemporary astronomical facilities.
Come to Richmond’s Triple Crossing-Fulton brewpub for a mind-blowing crash course on all the forms of light and what we’re discovering about the universe through instruments that detect them. You’ll learn how we’re getting a much truer understanding of the cosmos and its contents by measuring radio waves, microwaves, ultraviolet light, X-rays, and gamma rays. You’ll find out how we know that the universe is full of mysterious dark matter, or how we’ve become aware of the existence of supermassive black holes a billion times bigger than the sun.
Your guide on this galactic journey, Dr. Jack Singal, is an astrophysicist whose career has involved building detectors of all different kinds of light and analyzing the data they generate. He has used such information to discern the evolution of black holes over billions of years and applied machine learning to it to quickly classify galaxies. You’ll look up at the night sky with a bigger sense of wonder after hearing this skilled science communicator introduce you to what we know about the universe and how we have come to know it. (Advance tickets: $12. Door: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)
Image: The James Webb Space Telescope's ability to detect infrared light shows light from galaxies up to 12 billion years old bending around a galaxy cluster. (National Aeronautics and Space Administration photo.)