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Cosmic Tremors: The Quest for Colliding Black Holes

April 30, 2019,7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

17th Annual Paul D. Bartlett, Sr. Lecture

The lecture

In February 2016, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory in Washington state detected the collision of two black holes from the tremor they generated in space/time, finally confirming the reality of black holes—and proving Einstein right yet again. Despite scientists’ inability to see black holes directly, they have now mapped the location of many of them and have been able to infer their properties from observational data. In this talk, the popular Yale astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan will trace the history of the idea of black holes and present our evolving understanding of how they form and grow.

The speaker

Priyamvada Natarajan, Professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University, is a theoretical astrophysicist interested in cosmology, gravitational lensing and black hole physics. Her research involves mapping the detailed distribution of dark matter in the universe exploiting the bending of light enroute to us from distant galaxies. In particular, she has focused on making dark matter maps of clusters of galaxies, the largest known repositories of dark matter. Gravitational lensing by clusters can also be utilized to constrain dark energy models and she has been developing the methodology and techniques to do so. Her work has demonstrated that cluster strong lensing offers a unique and potentially powerful laboratory to test evolving dark energy models. Dr. Natarajan completed her undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics from MIT and received her PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge.

Admission tickets

We have reached our seating capacity for this event and we have also closed the wait list. 

Live stream option

If you are unable to attend the lecture in person, you can watch a live broadcast from the Library’s Facebook page or via livestream.com.

About the Bartlett Lecture

The annual Paul D. Bartlett, Sr. Lecture was established in 2003 to bring the finest university professors to speak on subjects related to the Linda Hall Library´s collections. Paul D. Bartlett, Sr. was the first chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Linda Hall Library. Under his leadership the Halls’ bequest for the creation of a public library in Kansas City was used to establish this library devoted to science, engineering and technology. Mr. Bartlett served on the Board until his death in 1964. The lectures are presented by the Linda Hall Library in association with the Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Kansas City, the Princeton Alumni Association of Greater Kansas City, and the Yale Club of Kansas City.


Parking is free in Library parking lots and along the west side of Holmes Street between 51st and 52nd streets. The main entrance to the Library grounds is on Cherry Street. The Linda Hall Library is not affiliated with the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Parking in all UMKC lots is by permit or meter.

Further reading


Linda Hall Library


Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry
Kansas City, MO 64110 United States
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For reservation questions, please email events@lindahall.org or call 816.926.8772 to leave a message.

Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information on these events.