Black holes are the densest objects in the universe, with gravity so strong that not even light can escape. Because black holes are the end-stage of evolution of massive stars and are thought to exist at the centers of most galaxies, understanding how they form and evolve is crucial for understanding stellar evolution and galaxy formation. However, they remain some of the most difficult objects to study because they emit no light of their own. Dr. Holoien will discuss what we know about black holes today, what happens when a black hole tears apart a star, and how we can use the light from these dying stars to study some of the universe’s most massive objects.

Dr. Tom Holoien: NHFP Einstein Fellow, Carnegie Observatories