The Biggest Bangs
The Origin and Nature of Gamma Ray Bursts

presented by

Dr. Jonathan Katz
Professor of Physics, Washington University

"The Biggest Bangs", a lecture by Dr. Jonathan Katz of Washington University, will be featured at the September meeting of the St. Louis Astronomical Society. The meeting will begin at 7:30 pm Friday, September 20, in McDonnell Hall, Room 162, on the Washington University campus. McDonnell Hall is accessible from Forsyth Boulevard via Houston Way. The presentation, cosponsored by NASA's Missouri Space Grant Consortium, is open to the public free of charge.

Dr. Katz will talk about the origin and nature of gamma ray bursts, the most energetic explosions known in the universe, next to the Big Bang itself. Gamma ray bursts are mysterious flares of gamma ray energy, the highest frequency region of forms of energy that include light, radio waves, and x-rays. The gamma ray bursts occur in all directions in space. Some of the burst sources have also emitted flashes of visible light and radio waves. In just the past few years, strong evidence has been found that these bursts arise from objects located at enormous distances, at the fringes of the observable universe. If so, each must release a colossal amount of energy to be detectable.

At Washington University, Dr Jonathan Katz is a Professor of Physics and a Fellow of the McDonnell Center For the Space Sciences. His research interests lie primarily in high energy astrophysics . In addition to technical papers and an advanced physics textbook, he is the author of The Biggest Bangs, a non-specialist’s introduction to the high energy universe and gamma ray bursters published in 2002.