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Black Holes: The most extreme physics laboratories in the Universe

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NOTE THURSDAY RATHER THAN TUESDAY

There is little debate that black holes hold a unique place both in the minds of the general public (thanks to the wealth of science fiction films depicting hapless astronauts falling to their doom) and in mathematics. They represent the extreme end of the laws of physics where the matter of the Universe is warped and molded by the exotic (and oftennon-intuitive) effects of General Relativity (GR). It is natural then that we should seek to understand more about these gravitational monsters, and this is made possible by the accretion of material which, in converting the potential energy of its infall, exudes copious amounts of electromagnetic radiation. In this talk I will show how, by studying this radiation, we can learn about the black holes themselves, how they are fed and how we may one day probe the details of Einstein’s GR.

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This talk is part of the Cambridge University Astronomical Society (CUAS) series.

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