University of Chicago Astrophysicist to Give Public Talk Nov. 1

University of Chicago astrophysicist Vikram V. Dwarkadas, Ph.D., will give a public talk on “Supernova Remnants, Pulsars and Gamma-Ray Bursts: The Vigorous Afterlife of Massive Stars” on Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 5 to 6 p.m. in D-2001 at the Joliet Junior College Main Campus, 1215 Houbolt Road in Joliet.
 
Stars heavier than about eight solar masses end their lives in cataclysmic explosions called supernovae. The material ejected in the explosion expands outwards at thousands of kilometers per second, creating huge shells of gas called supernova remnants.
 
The explosions may leave behind a compact and extremely dense object called a neutron star.  Some rotating neutron stars emit intense flashes of radiation at extremely precise intervals, forming pulsars. 
 
A few rare massive stars end in highly focused explosions, sending jets of material at close to the speed of light, resulting in intense flashes of gamma-rays. 
 
Using spectacular images and animations derived from space and ground-based telescopes, and numerical simulations, Dr. Dwarkadas will discuss these exotic phenomena, and the many mysteries that surround them.
 
Dr. Dwarkadas grew up in India and came to the United States to attend graduate school at the University of Virginia.  His research interests include winds and mass loss from stars, supernova explosions and their aftermath, shock waves, particle acceleration in, and gamma-ray emission from, supernova remnants, and interstellar phenomena. 
 
His astrophysical research has allowed him to visit and work in cities such as Seattle, Sydney, Dublin and Barcelona.  His work has received support from NASA and National Science Foundation (NSF) grants.  He has presented several popular level talks, and is involved in education and public outreach efforts supported by NASA.
 
Admission is free and open to ages six and up. Refreshments will be available in D-2001 beginning at 4:45 p.m.
For more information, contact Noella D’Cruz at (815) 280-2572 or ndcruz@jjc.edu.

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