Hungry Black Holes & Some Adventures in Physics Education

Linda Strubbe (UBC Physics & Astrnomy)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2016-02-29 15:30 - 16:45
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
A star that wanders too close to a massive black hole gets shredded by the black hole's tidal gravity, releasing a flare of energy as stellar gas accretes. How often this occurs is uncertain at present, as is the physics of such rapid accretion. Excitingly, in just the last few years, new transient surveys have started finding and following up tidal disruption event candidates in real time. I'll describe recent discoveries and what they can teach us. I'll also describe two areas of my current work in physics/astronomy education here at UBC: (1) a new intro physics lab course (Phys119), which is designed to help students practice reflecting on their measurements; and (2) a week-long astronomy course for West African undergraduates that we've held twice in Nigeria so far.
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