Wed, 9 December 2020

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm GMT

How to Survive Falling Into a Black Hole

Janna Levin

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What would happen if you fall into a black hole? Columbia Professor Janna Levin takes us inside one of the universe’s greatest mysteries.

“Einstein was wrong when he said, ‘God does not play dice.’ Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen.” – Stephen Hawking

Black holes are the most extraordinary phenomenon in the universe, but they are a riddle that confounds our intuitions.

Anything that enters them can never escape, and yet they contain nothing at all. They are bigger on the inside than the outside suggests. They are dark on the outside but not on the inside. They invert time into space and space into time. They can be microscopic. They can be billions of times larger than our sun. Our solar system is currently orbiting a black hole 26,000 light years away at a speed of 200 km per second.

In this livestream event, novelist and physicist Janna Levin will take you on a tour inside a black hole – and reveal how their mysteries contain answers to some of the most profound questions ever asked about the nature of the universe.

Praise for Janna Levin’s Black Hole Blues:

‘Gripping … very, very well written … I reached the beautiful ending of this book with a little sob of gratitude … heartbreaking … brilliant’ Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

‘It is hard to imagine that a better narrative will ever be written about the behind-the-scenes heartbreak and hardship that goes with scientific discovery. Black Hole Blues is a spectacular feat – a near-perfect balance of science, storytelling and insight … It is as inevitable as gravity that this book will win a swath of awards’ Michael Brooks, New Statesman

‘Astonishing … superb … A splendid book that I recommend to anyone with an interest in how science works and in the power of human imagination and ability’ John Gribbin, Wall Street Journal

‘A superb storyteller’ Clive Cookson, Financial Times

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Janna Levin

Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Columbia University

Janna Levin is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University and Director of Sciences at Pioneer Works, a centre for art and innovation in Brooklyn. She has contributed to the understanding of black holes, the cosmology of extra dimensions and gravitational waves. She was the first scientist-in-residence at the Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing at Oxford University with an award from NESTA, and was a Guggenheim fellow. Her previous books are How the Universe Got Its Spots, a novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, which won the PEN/Bingham prize, and Black Hole Blues.