NASA SCIENTIST TO DISCUSS ‘THE SCIENCE OF INTERSTELLAR’

This is an image of an accretion disk around a black hole, as seen by an observer nearly edge-on to the disk. The extreme gravity of the black hole bends the light from the disk, forming the warped shape above and below the orbital plane. Also visible is an inner circle of light that is produced by photons that travel all the way around the black hole before escaping and reaching the observer. Image Credit: NASA GSFC/J. Schnittman

This is an image of an accretion disk around a black hole, as seen by an observer nearly edge-on to the disk. The extreme gravity of the black hole bends the light from the disk, forming the warped shape above and below the orbital plane. Also visible is an inner circle of light that is produced by photons that travel all the way around the black hole before escaping and reaching the observer. Image Credit: NASA GSFC/J. Schnittman

The public is invited to a free talk called “The Science of Interstellar” with Dr. Jeremy Schnittman in the Pickford Theater, third floor, Madison Building, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, May 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT.

Jeremy Schnittman is a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. His research interests include theoretical and computational modeling of black hole accretion flows, X-ray polarimetry, black hole binaries, gravitational wave sources, gravitational microlensing, planetary dynamics, resonance dynamics and exoplanet atmospheres.

Dr. Jeremy Schnittman. Image Credit: NASA

Dr. Jeremy Schnittman. Image Credit: NASA

“One of the great things about studying black holes is that you are constantly pushing your imagination and intuition to the limit,” Schnittman said. “The same is true about good science fiction movies like Interstellar: By stretching our imaginations, we can better understand how black holes behave in the real world.”

The presentation will address the “habitability zone” around supermassive black holes and will discuss the Hollywood movie in light of the physics governing accretion, relativity and astrobiology.

The Library of Congress maintains one of the largest and most diverse collections of scientific and technical information in the world. The Science, Technology and Business Division provides reference and bibliographic services and develops the general collections of the library in all areas of science, technology, business and economics. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/.

The Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world and holds nearly 151.8 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The library serves Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.

For inquiries about this or upcoming talks at the Library of Congress, the public can contact the LOC Science, Technology and Business Division at 202-707-5664. ADA accommodations should be requested five business days in advance at 202-707-6382 (voice/tty) or ada@loc.gov.

The lecture will be later broadcast on the library’s webcast page and YouTube channel “Topics in Science” playlist.

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