SETI Institute Weekly Colloquium - Upcoming Speakers
Dr. Michelson is the Principal Investigator of the Large Area Telescope on the Fermi Observatory.
The Large Area Telescope (LAT) on the Fermi Observatory scans the entire sky once every three hours. It has revealed many types of high-energy sources including gamma-ray bursts, many types of pulsars, active galaxies, and binary systems.
In this talk Dr. Michelson will give an overview of Fermi’s discoveries and offer speculation of what might be found next, including possible sources of gravitational radiation.
The NASA K2 mission makes use of the Kepler spacecraft to expand upon Kepler's groundbreaking discoveries in the fields of exoplanets and astrophysics through new and exciting observations. K2 uses an innovative way of operating the spacecraft by carefully balancing the pressure of photons coming from the Sun. The K2 mission offers long-term, simultaneous optical observation of thousands of objects at high precision. Ecliptic fields are observed for approximately 75-days enabling a unique exoplanet survey which fills the gaps in duration and sensitivity between the Kepler and TESS missions, and offers exoplanet target identification for JWST transit spectroscopy. Astrophysics observations with K2 include studies of young open clusters such as the Pleiades and Hyades, galaxies, supernovae, and galactic archeology.
Measurements of the demographics of exoplanets over a range of planet and
host star properties provide fundamental empirical constraints on theories of planet formation and evolution. Because of its unique sensitivity to low-mass, long-period, and free-floating planets, microlensing is an essential complement to our arsenal of planet detection methods.
Dr. Gaudi will review the microlensing method, and discuss results to date from ground-based microlensing surveys. Finally, Dr. Gaudi will motivate a space-based microlensing survey with WFIRST-AFTA, which when combined with the results from Kepler, will yield a nearly complete picture of the demographics of planetary systems throughout the Galaxy.
Shape Dynamics is a new theory of gravity which removes the notion of local relativistic time from the guiding principles of gravity in the universe. It is a very promising approach which has been shown to be equivalent to Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, without being embedded in time. It is inspired by adherence to Mach's Principle, which is violated by Einstein's theory.
Shape Dynamics provides new tools in the quest for a theory that describes quantum gravity.
In the first part of the talk Dr. Gomes will review some of the Machian motivations for shape dynamics and sketch its construction. In the second half, Dr. Gomes will talk about recent developments on black holes in this formulation, and discuss some positive aspects of its ongoing quantization program.