Three most frequently asked big-picture questions by the general public are: 1) are we alone?, 2) what is going on inside black holes?, and 3) what happened before the big bang? While there is no shortage of philosophical speculation, scientifically-proven insights of these age-old profound and fundamental conundrums remain elusive. Nevertheless, they have stimulated rapid advancements in some subsidiary areas of astronomy over the past few decades. In this talk Professor Lin will highlight two frontiers of discovery in planetary and gravitational-wave astrophysics. After a brief overview on milestone observational findings in the search for extra-solar planets, remote sensing of their cradles, and solar system exploration, he will accentuate some paradigm changes in our theoretical understanding of how planets formed. He will also discuss how these new concepts may be applied to decipher clues and to extrapolate implications on the evolution of black holes from the recent detection of gravitational waves.
Speaker: Douglas Lin, UC Santa Cruz
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