Augsburg News

News Archives - 1996

'Death by Black Hole' is topic of lecture at Augsburg
by distinguished Princeton astrophysicist

Neil deGrasse Tyson will deliver sixth annual Sverdrup Visiting Scientist Lecture

April 12, 1996

Of the many ways one might die in space, by far the most spectacular is to fall into a black hole, says Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson of Princeton University's Department of Astrophysical Sciences. Tyson also is acting director of the American Museum Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

Tyson is this year's lecturer at Augsburg College's sixth annual General Leif J. Sverdrup Visiting Scientist Program. His free public lecture is scheduled on Monday, April 22, at 8 p.m. in the Foss Center (corner of Riverside Avenue and 22nd Avenue South). A reception will follow. (Registrations are requested; call 612/330-1324.)

In his lecture, Tyson will explore the exotic structure of space and time in the vicinity of a black hole, and detail exactly what would happen to a body if it fell in. While no one on record has ever been eaten by a black hole, says Tyson, tounge-in-cheek, there is strong evidence that stars get eaten by black holes all the time. The Hubble Space Telescope has helped to confirm what happens in the cores of active galaxies and quasars as super-massive black holes dine upon unsuspecting stars that wander too close.

During his stay in the Twin Cities, Tyson will visit Seward Montessori School in Minneapolis the morning of April 22. His visit to Augsburg also will include a Monday luncheon for Augsburg students and a Tuesday colloquium where he will speak on "Using Quasar Light as a Probe of Intergalactic Space." And he will meet informally with faculty and attend a Tuesday night banquet with Society of Physics students, where he will speak briefly on "Personal Reflections on the Space Program."

Tyson has appeared frequently on national television science programs, including a biographical profile on a recent PBS series on physicists. He is the author of two books, "Universe Down to Earth" (Columbia Press 1994) and "Merlin's Tour of the Universe" (Columbia Press 1989).

Tyson's visit is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium, of which Augsburg is a member. The NASA-funded consortium supports students with undergraduate and graduate scholarships and works with Minnesota schools to develop strong science, mathematics and technology programs.