Picture of the milky way

Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series: “A Space‐time Symphony of Gravitational Waves”

The 2016-2017 Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series continues with Vanderbilt University’s Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, who will present “A Space-time Symphony of Gravitational Waves” today (Nov. 10) at 8 p.m. at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

On Feb. 11, scientists announced the first detection of gravitational waves, a Nobel Prize-level achievement and a profound moment for humankind. Prior to that moment, the only way we learned about the distant universe was through the light we received.

Light revealed that we live in an expanding and accelerating universe—full of exoplanets, stellar explosions, other galaxies and dark matter that pervades everything. And now, humanity has observed the ripples in space‐time caused by the motion of massive objects like black holes. These gravitational waves have opened a whole new window to the universe of things we can’t see with light—things that could change our understanding of the cosmos.

Holley-Bockelmann is an associate professor of astronomy at Vanderbilt University, where she joined the faculty in 2007. She received her bachelor’s degree in physics at Montana State University and her PhD in astronomy in 1999 at the University of Michigan.

After her PhD, she conducetd postdoctoral work at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Massachusetts. In 2004, she joined the Center for Gravitational Wave Physics at Pennsylvania State University.

Her main interests are in computational galaxy dynamics, black holes of all sorts and gravitational waves. She is a recipient of a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation, is a Vanderbilt Chancellor Faculty Fellow and her work also has been supported by NASA. Holley-Bockelmann’s research on growing supermassive black holes and rogue black holes have been featured in many online and print media outlets.

As a first-generation college graduate within a family that sometimes lived below the poverty level, Holley-Bockelmann has a deep interest in broadening the participation of women, minorities and first‐generation college students in science.

She is the co-director of the Fisk-to-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-PhD Bridge Program, which is designed to mentor a diverse cohort of graduate students to develop the skills needed to succeed as a PhD scientist.

In cooperation with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Astronomical Society, the Department of Astronomy, through the support of the Arthur S. Holden Sr. Endowment, is sponsoring the 2016-2017 Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series. Renowned astronomers from across the country will give free lectures at the natural history museum at 8 p.m.

More information on the Frontiers series is available at astronomy.case.edu/event-archive/frontiers-of-astronomy/.

Learn about the Astronomy Colloquium at astronomy.case.edu/event-archive/astronomy-colloquia-16-17/.