Exploring the Most Extreme Corners of the Universe

February 16, 2019 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am
500 S Franklin St
Syracuse, NY 13202

Speaker: Stefan W. Ballmer, PhD, Associate Professor of Physics, Syracuse University

Talk Overview: Come along on a journey to explore the most extreme corners of the universe. We will encounter places where every-day geometry stops working and the time stands still. We will witness black holes and neutron stars on collision courses, smashing into each other at half the speed of light, producing some of the biggest known explosions in the universe. And I will take you behind the curtains of a brand-new, one-of-a-kind astronomical observatory: The Advanced Laser Gravitational-Wave Interferometer, a machine capable of measuring the vibrations in the fabric of space and time.

Biography: Stefan Ballmer, associate professor of physics at Syracuse University, is an authority on gravitational-wave detector technology. He has logged thousands of hours at the LIGO Hanford Observatory in Richland, Washington putting together the Advanced LIGO interferometer. He was a member of Advanced LIGO’s design team and is now designing the next generation of gravitational-wave detectors. Rounding out his contributions to LIGO’s Nobel Prize-winning work have been an NSF CAREER Award at Syracuse, Visiting Associate Professor positions at the University of Tokyo, a Robert A. Millikan Fellowship at Caltech; and a postdoctoral fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, underwriting research at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. Ballmer earned a Ph.D. from MIT in the group Rai Weiss and a Master’s degree from ETH Zurich in Switzerland. In his spare time, he is also a pilot and flight instructor in the local Syracuse Flying Club, exploring the 3rd dimension here on earth.

RSVP to jrcafe@tacny.org.