JROMC  is pleased to announce the resumption of its annual free memorial lecture series. The 49th J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Lecture will feature Professor Feryal Özel, on August 12th, 2022 beginning at 7:30 pm at Duane Smith Auditorium, Los Alamos, NM. 


Black Holes: from Oppenheimer’s Ideas to the First Direct Images


For a long time after Einstein’s formulation of the Theory of General Relativity, black holes were nothing but a mathematical curiosity. Even after Oppenheimer’s groundbreaking work, who demonstrated that black holes can be formed in the Universe through natural processes, many skeptics remained. In the intervening decades, astrophysicists collected a lot of circumstantial evidence, indicating that black holes do exist. In my presentation, I will discuss how the century-long quest culminated in the first-ever images of supermassive black holes with the Event Horizon Telescope. With these images, we can not only confirm their existence, but also perform unprecedented tests of the theory of General Relativity.

Speaker Biography:

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Feryal Özel received her B.S. in physics and applied mathematics at Columbia University and her Ph.D. in 2002 at Harvard University. After completing a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, Özel joined the University of Arizona faculty in 2005, where she has worked as a professor of astronomy and physics, and as associate dean for research in the College of Science. Professor Özel is joining Georgia Tech as chair of the School of Physics, beginning August 2022.

She is co-investigator of the NASA Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) Mission and has twice earned the American Astronomical Society Bruno Rossi Prize (NICER and EHT collaborations), along with a number of honors including a joint Breakthrough Prize in Physics, and NSF Diamond Achievement Award.

In 2016, Özel was named a Guggenheim Fellow, as well as a visiting professor and member of the Harvard University Black Hole Initiative. In 2017 she was honored as the Columbia University Annual Bishop Lecturer. She has also served as a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellow at Harvard University and as a Miller Visiting Professor at University of California, Berkeley.

Özel is a member of the American Astronomical Society and an Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society. She is past chair of the NASA Astrophysics Advisory Committee and NASA Lynx X-ray Telescope Science and Technology Definition Team, and currently serves as an advisor of NANOGrav and the Miller Institute, as well as a member at Aspen Center for Physics.free