OUS Victoria - Seeing Stars!....a Public Lecture on Galaxies & Black Holes

More than 300 people attended a public lecture at the University of Swinburne to hear Roger Davies, Oxford’s Philip Wetton Professor of Astrophysics and Director of the Centre for Astrophysical Surveys, on the evening of Friday, 4 September.

The general lecture was entitled 'Galaxies and Black Holes', and gave an overview of the properties of galaxies and black holes. The abstract is below. The appreciative audience ranged in age from a retired Vice Chancellor in his eighties, to university students and school children as young as ten.

Afterwards, a group of OUS Victoria members gathered at a local restaurant where there was much animated discussion about black holes, artificial intelligence and how long the earth really does have! It was very special to have an opportunity to hear from Professor Davies and gratifying to have such a large audience.

`Galaxies & Black Holes' 
Abstract: This general lecture opened with an overview of the properties of galaxies and black holes. Using exceptional data from Hubble Space Telescope astronomers have discovered supermassive black holes, with masses ranging from millions to billions times the mass of the Sun, at the very center of massive galaxies.

Intriguingly, the mass of this central black hole scales with many of the properties of the host galaxy, for example the total mass of the galaxy is about five hundred times the mass of the black hole.

However the direct gravitational influence of the black hole extends to only a minute fraction of the volume of the galaxy (about one billionth of the total volume). So, how are these connections established? Professor Davies explored this question and revealed an unexpected twist in the story of galaxy evolution.

Elizabeth Beattie - Honorary Secretary, OUS Victoria