MONSTER Black Hole at the Heart of the Milky Way! Reinhard Genzel
#BlackHole #Singularity #wormhole
An incredibly deep and intimate interview with a towering figure in observational and experimental astrophysics! Reinhard is one of the world’s leading authorities in the science of MONSTER black holes, like the one that lies at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy. We had a fascinating conversation about his role models including Charlie Townes and his friend and co-laureate (and past guest on this podcast, Sir Roger Penrose). Along the way you’ll learn about the challenges of exploring black holes in our galaxy and others. Plus you’ll hear his fascinating thoughts on the future of observational astronomy and a touching tribute to his late father, Ludvig.
Reinhard Genzel is a German astrophysicist, co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, a professor at LMU and an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy”, which he shared with Andrea Ghez and Roger Penrose.
Reinhard Genzel studies infrared- and submillimetre astronomy. He and his group are active in developing ground- and space-based instruments for astronomy. They used these to track the motions of stars at the centre of the Milky Way, around Sagittarius A*, and show that they were orbiting a very massive object, now known to be a black hole.
Genzel is also active in studies of the formation and evolution of galaxies. In July 2018, Reinhard Genzel et al. reported that star S2 orbiting Sgr A* had been recorded at 7,650 km/s or 2.55% the speed of light leading up to the pericentre approach in May 2018 at about 120 AU ≈ 1400 Schwarzschild radii from Sgr A*. This allowed them to test the redshift predicted by general relativity at relativistic velocities, finding additional confirmation of the theory.
In our chat, Genzel recalls his journey as an astrophysicist; the influence of his father, Ludwig Genzel; his experiences working with Charles H. Townes; and more
00:09:45 What’s missing from black hole theory and what about hype eg wormholes from Interstellar and Kip Thorne?
00:13:30 The ultimate general relativity laboratory: Supermassive black holes
00:15:00 Singularities and quantum gravity
00:20:31 The promise of multimessenger astronomy.
00:23:25 Stellar Ballet of the galactic center and adaptive optics
00:28:28 The origin of the GRAVITY collaboration and the VLT-a 40 year journey.
00:35:00 The legacy of Charles Townes & infrared astronomy
00:42:18 Access to military technology was essential to progress in astronomy for you and Andrea Ghez
00:43:15 What is the next step in the evolution of the GRAVITY collaboration? Hint: Not NEO!
00:52:08 What is your philosophy of what makes a well-rounded scientist?
00:55:58 You need the right hunting skills! A tour of the center of the Milky Way.
01:08:37 What aspect of your career do you think will be viewed as groundbreaking in the future?
01:13:29 What would like to tell your father if he was still alive?
01:25:22 What would you put on your time capsule for the far future?
01:28:39 What advice would you give to your younger self?
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