Hello! My name is Ashley Stock and this summer I had the privilege of being a summer student at MSSL, under the supervision of Prof. Kinwah Wu. I investigated the motions of massless particles (photons) in close proximity to non-rotating (Schwarzschild) and rotating (Kerr) black holes.
At the end of June, we had the opportunity to work at MSSL with Dr. Ignacio Ferreras for one week. As college (high school) students interested in pursuing careers in science and/or engineering, this was the perfect opportunity for us to not only get a taste of what research is like at the frontiers of science, but also to experience in first person the daily life of a scientist.
Galaxies are not simply conglomerations of stars, gas and dust. They are the building blocks of the Universe, the ultimate energy factories and at least one of them is home to intelligent life. In fact, besides the Big Bang, the origin of most electromagnetic radiation in the Universe can be traced back to galaxies. Nonetheless, the existence of supermassive black holes in galaxy centres, although now well-established, is still puzzling scientists. How did these mysterious objects come to be? When did they first form? Is there one in the centre of every galaxy? More puzzling yet, is the idea that they can regulate the formation of stars in the galaxies in which they reside.
The Swift satellite, part of which was built at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, detected the remarkable Gamma-ray Burst (GRB) 130427A about 3 years ago. This burst has the highest fluence (energy divided by surface) of the over 1000 events detected by Swift and indeed by any space observatory for 30 years.
Neutrons stars are one of the final stages of the stellar evolution of a massive star, in which a compact object made mostly of neutrons is left after a supernova event. With masses ~ 1.5 M☉ and radii of the order of ~ 10 km, neutron stars have an average density of ~ 1014 – 1015 gr cm-3, which is comparable to the density of an atomic nucleus (~2 . 1014 gr cm-3). Due to their high densities, they have strong surface gravitational fields and quantum effects dominate the properties of matter in their interiors.
Last night (30th March 2016) the flagship BBC documentary show, Horizon, had a programme on dark energy: that mysterious “thing” that is causing the expansion of the Universe to accelerate, and which accounts for approximately 70% of the mass-enemy content of the Universe.
Imagine time running backwards. People would grow younger instead of older and, after a long life of gradual rejuvenation – unlearning everything they know – they would end as a twinkle in their parents’ eyes. That’s time as represented in a novel by science fiction writer Philip K Dick but, surprisingly, time’s direction is also an issue that cosmologists are grappling with.