Scientists have recently developed a new way to “see” the universe, using the gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein nearly a century ago. These waves can teach us about some of the most exotic objects in the cosmos, including star corpses known as black holes and neutron stars. Remarkably, they have also helped solve a longstanding puzzle about where in the universe some of the elements we know and love here on Earth are produced, including gold, platinum, uranium, and even Californium!
The speaker, Eliot Quataert, is a professor of astronomy and physics at UC Berkeley, working on a wide range of problems, from stars and black holes to how galaxies form. He has received a number of national awards for his research and is also a highly regarded teacher and public lecturer.