28 October 2020

Big bangs and black holes - frontiers of space science in a real-time world

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Online webinar - 16:30 - 17:30 GMT

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Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is one of the pinnacles of theoretical physics; it predicted the expansion of the Universe, the existence of black holes and the concept of gravitational radiation - all now confirmed experimentally. It also underpins our modern lives, giving us vital precision in our global navigation satellite systems (e.g. GLONASS, GPS, Galileo, BeiDou) and driving new commercial capabilities in areas as diverse as precision agriculture and aviation.

In this short talk Prof Mundell will give a flavour of life as a high-energy astrophysicist developing and deploying real-time autonomous robotic systems to study the most energetic explosions in the Universe - driven by the formation of black holes - and look ahead to opportunities and wider threats to our space ecosystem that will require careful stewardship through cutting-edge scientific, engineering and international policy solutions. 


Prof Carole Mundell

Head of Astrophysics at the University of Bath

Carole is Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy and Head of Astrophysics at the University of Bath. She served as Head of the Department of Physics from 2016 to 2018 and is currently Chief Scientific Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

An observational astrophysicist, Carole began her research career as a radio astronomer at Jodrell Bank Observatory. She then diversified to exploit international ground- and space-based facilities across the electromagnetic spectrum with the goal of understanding cosmic black holes and their environments.

Following time at the University of Maryland, Carole brought a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to Liverpool John Moores University where she built and led an international team specializing in catching the fast-fading light from gamma ray bursts - the most powerful explosions in the Universe.
She was appointed Professor in 2007 and was awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2011-2016) for the study of 'Black hole-driven explosions and the dynamic Universe'.

She was recruited to the University of Bath in 2015 as their first Professor in astrophysics to found the Bath Astrophysics Group and she was named FDM Everywoman in Technology Woman of the Year 2016.

Carole has published over 150 peer reviewed papers and continues to play a leading role in the development of cutting-edge international ground and satellite research facilities.
Her experience in strategic science policy advisory work has encompassed technology, basic research and horizon scanning beyond astrophysics.
In her FCO CSA role, she works as a part of cross-Whitehall CSAs to provide science advice to government and specialises in international science diplomacy.
She is a committed and sought-after communicator of science to the general public - in the UK and overseas - and a vocal advocate for equality and diversity in science

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