Distinguished Research Awards Lecture tackles black hole theories

Dr. Rolf Schimmrigk explains some of the complex theories behind black holes. Schimmrigk received IUSB’s Distinguished Research Award in 2011. Photo via/Dylan Lemert
Rolf Schimmrigk explains some of the complex
theories behind black holes.
Photo via/Dylan Lemert

Staff Writer

The mysteries of the universe are as vast and complex as anything we can imagine. But they’re exactly the sort of mysteries IU South Bend Professors Rolf Schimmrigk and Monika Lynker thrive on.

The annual Distinguished Research Award, which has been given since 1998, aims to honor IUSB faculty members who have served at least eight years studying a particular discipline.

The 2013 recipients of the award, Schimmrigk, associate professor of astronomy at IUSB, and Lynker, professor of astronomy and physics, gave a lecture titled “Why Black Holes are Not Black,” which was open to the pub­lic and took place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21, in Wiekamp room 1001.

The lecture gave an intro­duction to black holes and their properties and explored some of the theories behind why black holes are more dy­namic than science has previ­ously been led to believe.

“Black holes are not black. They radiate, they have a temperature,” Schimmrigk said, in an attempt to dis­suade the notion that black holes are devoid of all matter and energy.

Recent findings also indicate the temperature of a black hole is not completely zero, though it remains extremely minute.

“The temperature is very small, so small it’s almost a principle,” Schimmrigk said.

Schimmrigk and Lynkers’ research is built upon ideas and equations first proposed by the likes of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

“When it comes to black holes, we can compute things but we can’t really imagine all that they’re capable of,” said Schimmrigk, who has given over 70 talks on the topic.

Astronomy and physics students at IUSB also contribute to the study of black holes on a continual basis.

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