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Neutron Star Mergers: Nature's Gold Factories


Black space white gravitational waves

Speaker: Dr Ben Gompertz PhD FRAS, Assistant Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham

Dr Gompertz will discuss the explosive signatures of collisions between neutron stars – the dead cores of very large stars that have been squashed down to an area the size of Birmingham under their own extreme gravity. These signatures include intense jets travelling at close to the speed of light, the radioactive glow of newly-forged heavy elements, and even “ripples in space-time,” known as gravitational waves.

Lectures are free and open to the public. Light refreshments (drinks and biscuits) are provided. They take place in the Poynting Large Lecture Theatre on the 2nd floor of the Poynting Physics Building, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT. This is building R13 on the campus map here: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/documents/university/edgbaston-campus-map.pdf

Doors to the Large Lecture Theatre will be open from 7pm. The talk begins at 7.30pm.

Car parking on campus is usually available and free after 6pm. There is a railway station on campus called ‘University’ – connections to Birmingham New Street and the cross city line are approx. every 10 minutes. Further travel info is here: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/contact/directions/index.aspx

About the Speaker

Ben is an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Gravitational Wave Astronomy and the School of Physics and Astronomy.

He researches some of the most powerful explosions in the universe. His main interest is in short gamma-ray bursts and kilonovae, both of which come from colliding neutron stars (or possibly neutron stars being pulled apart by black holes). He also researches unusually long gamma-ray bursts and energetic supernovae, which come from the collapse of very massive stars but require an extra source of energy.

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