Public Lecture

Black Holes in the Sky and Fundamental Physics

Ibrahima Bah

John Hopkins University

Wed, Aug 9, 5:30–6:30pm

Flug Forum, Aspen Center for Physics

The detection of gravitational-waves has opened new avenues for exploring the nature of the universe. Starting with the detection of colliding black holes by the LIGO and Virgo interferometers, the next couple of decades will see the development of many novel observational methods for gravitational-waves. This emerging science brings forward many interesting questions in fields ranging from astronomy to fundamental physics. With this window to the universe, it is exciting to wonder what new physics will be discovered, and how they will change and inform our fundamental understanding of gravity. This talk will explore the ways in which this emerging science, referred to as gravitational spectroscopy, will impact fundamental physics. The detection of black holes can in general be seen as the possible observation of new classes of ultra-compact objects beyond the standard models of particle physics or cosmology. An important scientific goal will be to see if they can all be characterized by the standard black hole in general relativity or require new fundamental physics. We will also discuss important models that can be used to explore these questions with the coming observations, and how gravitational spectroscopy will shed light onto the physics of gravity and quantum gravity more broadly.

Ibrahima Bah Headshot

About Ibrahima Bah

Ibou Bah is an Assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University working on various topics in the intersection of string theory, holography and quantum field theory. He grew up in Senegal and immigrated to US (living in New York City) when he was 13. He completed his undergraduate studies in physics and Mathematics at Lafayette College in PA, and his graduate studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor under the supervision of Leopoldo Pando Zayas in 2012. After that, Bah joined the string theory groups at IPhT at Saclay, outside of Paris in France, and at University of Southern California for a joint postdoc. He started his second postdoc in 2015 with Ken Intriligator at UCSD as a UC president’s postdoctoral fellow. In January 2017 he joined the physics and astronomy Department at Johns Hopkins University as a junior faculty.

Heinz R. Pagels Public Lecture Series

Heinz R Pagels was a professor of physics at Rockefeller University, president of the New York Academy of Science, a trustee of the Aspen Institute, and a member of the Aspen Center for Physics for twenty years, serving as a participant, officer, and trustee. He was also President of the International League for Human Rights. His work on chaos theory inspired the character of Ian Malcolm in the Jurassic Park book and movies. A part-time local resident, Professor Pagels died here in a mountaineering accident in 1988. His family and friends instituted the lecture series in his honor because he devoted a substantial part of his life to effective public dissemination of scientific knowledge.

Heinz Pagels