SLAC Public Lecture Series
In this talk, Eduardo do Couto e Silva will explain that while the night sky appears calm, it is in fact populated by colossal explosions and cosmic conflagrations. In 1967, a US satellite monitoring nuclear explosions suddenly recorded a huge burst of energy coming from space. No one had any idea of what this could be, nothing like this had ever been seen before. The extraordinary power of this event, since named a gamma-ray burst, signaled that there were vast explosions taking place out in the universe and the hunt was on to find an explanation. Equally amazing in their power and their influence are supernova explosions. The collapse of massive stars make for some of the most dramatic of all events in our universe and Dr. do Couto e Silva will explain that not only are they dramatic but they have been essential to the creation of life on earth.