About SFAA Live-streamed 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.   To view archived lectures, click here.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  the monthly lectures are being made available by live stream.  Use your computer or mobile device to connect to the links provided below.


16 November 2022, 7:00 PM, Wednesday, Live-streamed via Zoom, YouTube and Facebook

“The Active Social Lives of Big Black Holes”


Dr. Roger Blandford, KIPAC, Stanford University

It is now clear that most normal galaxies have a big black hole, with between a million and ten billion suns in mass, in their nucleus. However, in addition to being the monstrous cosmic maws of popular characterization, these black holes can interact strongly and subtly with their environment. They can attract gas and cause it to shine more brightly than their galactic hosts. They can use their rotation to create twin jets flowing outwards with speeds close to that of light. They can shatter stars which wander too close. They can also acquire massive black hole partners which become locked in an ecstatic dance before merging and creating a burst of gravitatlonal waves. We have learned, are learning and should soon learn much more about each of these interactions, as I shall try to illustrate.

Brief Bio

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 was awarded the 1998 Dannie Heineman Prize of the American Astronomical Society, the 2013 Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the 2016 Crafoord Prize for Astronomy and the 2020 Shaw Prize for Astronomy. He co-authored with Kip Thorne the textbook Modern Classical Physics.

How to Attend

To attend the virtual meeting "live" with the opportunity to ask questions:

Connect starting at 6:30pm on Wednesday, November 16th by clicking this Zoom meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/95830904603?pwd=UDNKdm16US9wK1EremdJeGptdjNNdz09

Clicking the link may prompt you to install the Zoom virtual meeting app. Once installed, you will be able to join the meeting. If the app is already installed on your device, simply enter the meeting number 958 3090 4603 and password 116064 to join the meeting.

Once joined, you can test your audio and video, and greet other members.

Board members will join the meeting early to help troubleshoot any problems with audio or video.

"Doors Open" at 6:30pm and the announcements and lecture will start promptly at 7:00pm.

Alternatively, please visit the following channels to attend the live stream:

SFAA YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChuBJGp_iJYZ11q_ayA-q3A

SFAA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/152754481404310