Upcoming Biard Lecture

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Event Horizon Black Hole Image

Save the Date -- October 12, 2022!

13th Annual R. Jack and Forest Lynn Biard Lectureship
in Cosmology and Astrophysics

"Imaging (and imagining) Black Holes"

Sera Markoff, Ph.D.
Professor of Astrophysics, University of Amsterdam
Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)
Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA)


Black holes are one of the most exotic consequences of Einstein’s General Relativity, yet they are also very common, from stellar remnants up to beasts over a billion times more massive than our sun.   Despite their reputation as cosmic vacuum cleaners, they actually expel a large fraction of the “fuel” they capture, along the way converting it into extremely energetic flows of material that majorly impact their surroundings.  Astronomers, astrophysicists and physicists all want to understand black holes, yet we have been limited by the resolution of our telescopes from actually seeing one directly.   This situation has changed dramatically with the Event Horizon Telescope, an Earth-sized millimeter-wavelength array that revealed to the world what a black hole actually looks like, in April 2019. 

Sera Markoff Ph.D.

Sera Markoff leads a research group at the University of Amsterdam focused on the extreme physics around compact objects like black holes. She was educated in the US (BSc Physics @ MIT 1993, PhD Theoretical Astrophysics @University of Arizona 2000) before heading to Europe to work at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany as a Humboldt Fellow and then back to MIT as an NSF Astronomy &Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2006 she joined the faculty in Amsterdam, where she now sits in both the Astronomy and Astroparticle Physics institutes (API and GRAPPA, respectively) as a full professor.