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-specialists introduction to the high
energy universe and gamma ray bursters published in 2002.