Black holes are dark. That’s their essence. Being dark against a dark sky and a shadow against a bright sky are the defining features that earned them a name. A telescope has never found one unadorned. Bare black holes—those too solitary to tear down sufficient debris—in their obliterating darkness are practically impossible to observe, but not entirely impossible. Award-winning physicist, astronomer, and author Janna Levin will describe the aspiration to detect black holes (and other cataclysmic events) that culminated in the discovery of the century: the first human-procured recordings of a gravitational-wave sound from the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion years ago.
- 2016 Festival