Western Australian school students and teachers will meet black hole discoverer Emeritus Professor Roy Kerr when he visits The University of Western Australia and the Gravity Discovery Centre in Gingin next week.
The New Zealand mathematician cracked Einstein's equation in 1963, creating a revolution in astrophysics with a discovery said to be the most important solution to any equation in physics. He was at the University of Texas at the time.
According to Nobel Laureate astrophysicist Professor S. Chandrasekhar, Professor Kerr provided "the absolutely exact representation of untold numbers of massive black holes that populate the universe". American theoretical physicist Professor Louis Witten, said Professor Kerr's work described "the fate of all the stars in the universe".
The ‘Kerr solution' has since been pivotal in deepening scientists' understanding of astrophysics and gravitation. The rotation of Kerr black holes has shown to be a possible explanation for some of the most violent and energetic phenomena in the universe, such as the supernovae producing gamma ray bursts, and jets in active galactic nuclei.
Recently, new astronomical observations have provided strong evidence for the existence of Kerr black holes. In future, the ‘Kerr solution' will contribute to the understanding of the signatures of gravitational waves.
Professor Kerr will be at the Gravity Discovery Centre from 10am on Thursday June 3. He will be at UWA from 12 noon to 12.45pm on Friday June 4 talking to secondary science teachers as part of UWA's SPICE program. SPICE - the Secondary Teachers' Enrichment Program, is a UWA/Department of Education initiative - and is in UWA's Centre for Learning Technology, located in the Physics Building, off Fairway Entrance One.
Winthrop Professor David Blair (+61 8 ) 6488 2736 (UWA) (+61 8) 9575 7591 (Gingin)
(UWA School of Physics; Director, (+61 4) 09 687 703
Australian International Gravitational Research Centre)
Associate Professor Jan Dook (SPICE Program Coordinator) (+61 8) 6488 2597
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716