18 April 2017, Tuesday, 7:45 PM, Presidio Officers’ Club
“Neutron Stars and Pulsars: The Inside Story”
Roger Blandford, PhD, KIPAC Stanford
Predicted in the 1930s and discovered in the 1960s by X-ray and radio astronomers, neutron stars are now known to be the typical result of the evolution of a massive star. There should be nearly of a billion of them in our galaxy alone. Neutron stars have roughly ten km radii and can spin six hundred times in a second. They can also have magnetic fields over a million billion times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field. A small fraction of these neutron stars create bright radio emission and they can be observed as periodic radio pulses and are called radio pulsars. Radio pulsars have turned out to be superb cosmic laboratories and to provide tools to
explore gravity and its radiation.
Below is an image of the Crab Nebula Pulsar:
Roger Blandford took his BA, MA and PhD degrees at Cambridge University. Following postdoctoral research at Cambridge, Princeton and Berkeley he took up a faculty position at Caltech in 1976 where he was appointed as the Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics in 1989. In 2003 He moved to Stanford University to become the first Director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology and the Luke Blossom Chair in the School of Humanities and Science. His research interests include black hole astrophysics, cosmology, gravitational lensing, cosmic ray physics and compact stars. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2008-2010, he chaired a two year National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He shared the 2016 Crafoord Prize for Astronomy.