19 July 2016, Tuesday, 7:45 PM, Presidio Observation Post, Building 211
“Revealing the Identity of Type Ia Supernovae”
Ken Shen, PhD, UC Berkeley Astronomy Department
Type Ia supernovae are famous for the role they play in determining the accelerating expansion of the Universe, which led to the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. In addition, they spread their nuclear burning ashes throughout galaxies, over time producing a large fraction of the heavy elements in the Universe. However, while we are fairly confident that Type Ia supernovae are the thermonuclear explosions of white dwarfs in binary stellar systems, the debate rages as to the precise nature of their companions and how the explosions are ignited. In this talk, I will review our basic understanding of Type Ia supernovae and show how recent advances are giving us hope that we will soon uncover the fundamental nature of these cosmos.
Ken Shen is an assistant staff researcher in UC Berkeley’s astronomy department where he studied the astrophysics of white dwarf stars in interacting binary systems, with a focus on thermonuclear phenomena. He received his PhD in the Department of Physics, UC Santa Barbara, where he worked with Lars Bildsten at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. He was a postdoctoral Einstein fellow at UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
About SFAA Presidio Lectures
Once monthly, the SFAA hosts distinguished guest speakers who are leaders in the fields of astronomy, physics and related disciplines. The speakers present to the public and SFAA members the latest developments from cutting-edge scientific programs. The lectures are free.
Join us for informal coffee and light snacks at 7:30 PM followed by the General Meeting and announcements at 7:45 PM and lecture kick off at 8:00 PM.