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Physics & Atmospheric Science

2017 Annual E.W. Guptill Lecture: Dr. Günther Hasinger, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii

University of HawaiiBlack Holes and the Fate of the Universe

The first stellar mass black holes have probably been formed in powerful gamma ray bursts in the early universe. Stellar remnants of the first generation of stars have been the seeds of supermassive black holes, which we find dormant in the centres of most nearby galaxies – including our own milky way. The ligo discovery of gravitational waves from several merging black holes has created excitement recently. What will be the fate of the black holes? They can live much longer than other forms of matter and structures in the universe, but nevertheless must evaporate after a finite time. If dark energy indeed accelerates the expansion of the universe forever, the most massive black holes can grow to hundreds of billions of solar masses, which can live as long as 10100 years - a truly unimaginable time span. The first compact objects, which entered the stage of the universe, will then also be the last ones to leave it.



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