Over 200 years ago, ‘black holes’ remained an esoteric idea. Today, their existence has been confirmed experimentally, but the study of their origin and impact on their surroundings remain at the forefront of modern astronomy.
Unable to travel to black holes, astronomers instead use the information encoded in light produced close to the black hole as a probe of their physical properties. Visible light to which our human eyes are most sensitive has enriched culture for thousands of years. However, this represents only a small fraction of the total light available for collection; recent technological advances have allowed astronomers to harvest light from across the electromagnetic spectrum and - with the first detection of gravitational waves from merging black holes – probe the nature of space-time itself.
Carole Mundell is Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy and Head of Astrophysics at the University of Bath. She is also Head of the Department of Physics.
Following two years at the University of Maryland, Carole brought a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to Liverpool John Moores University where she built and led an international team specialising in catching the fast-fading light from gamma ray bursts - the most powerful explosions in the Universe.
She was appointed to a Professorship in 2007 and currently holds a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2011-2016) for the study of black hole-driven explosions and the dynamic Universe.
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