Black Holes, Wormholes, and Time Machines: The Boundary Between Science and Science Fiction
Black holes are among the most extraordinary predictions of theoretical physics—they stop time, turn space inside-out, and constitute a boundary of the Universe. They are often used as a device in fiction and as a metaphor for an irresistible downward force in fields as varied as psychology and finance. Recent discoveries have brought these enigmatic objects into the realm of empirical study: They are now a standard part of our understanding of the physical universe. In this Master Class we will learn about these recent discoveries, and consider the observational, theoretical, metaphorical, and fictional characteristics of these remarkable objects.
Charles Bailyn is the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University and inaugural dean of faculty at Yale-NUS College. He earned a B.S. in astronomy and physics from Yale and a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard. His Ph.D. thesis on X-ray emitting binary stars received the Robert J. Trumpler Award for best North American Ph.D. thesis in astronomy. Bailyn was awarded the 2009 Bruno Rossi Prize for his research on the masses of black holes.