Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award lecture by Professor Katherine Blundell, University of Oxford
Professor Katherine Blundell, University of Oxford
The popular notion of a black hole "sucking in everything" from its surroundings only happens very close to a black hole. Far away, the pull of the black hole is identical to that of anything else of the same mass. However, black holes do give rise to many remarkable phenomena such as extragalactic quasars and, in our own Galaxy, microquasars. This is because gravity is not the only law of physics that must be obeyed. Matter can be spun off from near black holes in the form of winds and jets that spread through their surroundings and thus cause black holes to have tremendous cosmic influence many light years beyond their event horizons.
The Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award is funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as part of its efforts to promote women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The award is made to an individual for an outstanding contribution to any area of STEM. Nominations for the 2011 Award winner open on 30 November 2010.
Image courtesy of NASA, ESA, Martin Kornmesser (ESA/Hubble)