Image of telescope and black hole
photo courtesy of Ethan Tweedie
Lectures & Learning Opportunities School & College Events

Black Holes and How to Find Them

The population of black holes left over from dead stars in the Milky Way should total 100 million and yet it is almost entirely unexplored. Only two dozen black holes are confidently known in our Galaxy — all in binary systems with another star. As a result, the origin and properties of black holes will remain unknown until we can find and study free-floating, single black holes. Yet, how do we find these invisible objects? Professor Lu will present the novel search for Milky Way black holes and the discovery of the first lone black hole.

Hosted by Prytanean Society


Headshot of Jessica Lu
Jessica Lu
Associate Professor and the Chair, Astronomy Department

Jessica Lu studies black holes and stars and helps build the machines needed to find them. Lu received a bachelor's degree in physics from MIT in 2000 and received her Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from UCLA in 2008, where she worked with Professor Andrea Ghez on the Galactic Center. Professor Lu was awarded postdoctoral fellowships from Caltech and the National Science Foundation. In 2013, she joined the faculty at the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) in the University of Hawaii before coming to UC Berkeley in 2016 and receiving the Prytanean award in 2019.