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Extremes of the Universe

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The Universe has many extreme events, from the Big Bang onward. In this talk I shall concentrate on extremes of power observed in the Universe, from Solar flares to exploding stars, magnetars, quasars, and the emission of gravitational waves from the merger of black holes. Extremes test our understanding of physics. The most extreme events briefly exceed the power of all the stars in all the galaxies of the observable Universe.


Professor Andrew Fabian OBE FRS is the Acting Director of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge. He also leads the X-Ray research group within the Institute. The group’s research focuses on active galaxies, clusters of galaxies, elliptical galaxies, galactic black holes, neutron stars and the X-ray background. He is one of two UK members on ESA ’s Athena Science Study Team.

Before becoming its Director, Professor Fabian was a Royal Society Research Professor in the Institute of Astronomy. Between 2008 and 2010 he was President of the Royal Astronomical Society, and from 1997 to 2012 he was Vice-Master of Darwin College, Cambridge.

He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1996, and a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2016. He was awarded the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) Bruno Rossi Prize in 2001, the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics of the AAS and APS in 2008, the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 2016 and he was appointed an OBE in 2006. Asteroid 25157 Fabian was named for him in 2016.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Lecture Series series.

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