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Prof. Darren Croton

Professor of Astrophysics
Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing
Swinburne University of Technology

Abstract

Black holes are amongst the most bizarre objects predicted by Einstein's theory of General Relativity. Many people may not realize that our own galaxy hosts a supermassive black hole at its centre that is three million times more massive than our own Sun! In this talk I will discuss the physics of black holes and their formation, how they can grow to become so massive, active black hole "quasars" in the distant universe, and the unexpected impact that a supermassive black hole can have on the evolution of an entire galaxy. We will finish by side stepping into the exotic world of wormholes, the black hole's tormented cousin.

Biography

Prof. Darren Croton is a theoretical and numerical astrophysicist from Swinburne University's Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing. His research explores the formation and evolution of galaxies in the local and distant Universe, using both supercomputer simulations and large observational data sets. He founded the Theoretical Astrophysical Observatory (TAO), an online virtual laboratory where astronomers can build and analyse their own virtual universes. A recent focus has been the "big data" challenges facing astronomy, brought about by the ever increasing sensitivity and size of the telescopes and supercomputers astronomers routinely use.