Fall 2009:

Oct. 9 '09 "What Lurks in the Hearts of Galaxies?", Dr. Eric Perlman, Physics and Space Sciences Department, Florida Institute of Technology

Description:

In his talk, Dr. Perlman will discuss the central regions of galaxies, and what we find in them. This will include the stellar populations, gas characteristics, and particularly the central black holes. He will discuss in detail the center of our own galaxy, which has at its center a black hole 3 million times the mass of our sun, and how that black hole was discovered. Also of particular interest will be the centers of other galaxies, where we find even more massive black holes -- as massive as several billion suns. Dr. Perlman will discuss what we know about these black holes, how we have discovered their existence, and their relationship to the galaxies they live in. Dr. Perlman will finish up by discussing how the central black holes may have formed.




Dr. Eric S. Perlman
Associate Professor of Physics & Space Sciences
Florida Institute of Technology


Dr. Eric S. Perlman is an Associate Professor of Physics & Space Sciences at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL, where he teaches physics and astronomy and oversees a large research group.

He has been at FIT since January 2007. Prior to coming to central Florida, he held research positions at the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and Goddard Space Flight Center. He obtained his PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1994. His research interests center around the nuclei of galaxies, particularly their central black holes and the diverse types of activity seen in their nuclear regions. He is also interested in cosmology, survey astronomy, the history of science and the application of artificial intelligence techniques to astronomical research. He is mostly an observational astronomer, specializing in data from the Hubble and Chandra Observatories. He is also a musician and strategy games enthusiast who sings and holds an expert's rating in chess.