If you ask Andy Ingersoll how Caltech has contributed to our understanding of the universe, he'll tell you, "Caltech invented planetary science!" Since the field's origins 50 years ago, Caltech has become one of the top planetary-science research centers.
The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, sees the high-energy X-rays emitted by the densest, hottest regions of the universe. Professor Harrison will describe NuSTAR's unlikely journey and share some of its remarkable results.
Where do you go to look at the stars? Away from city lights, certainly. But if you're serious about peering far out into space, to the observable edges of our universe, at submillimeter wavelengths, you have to do a little better than that.
"I work on a broad range of topics, but basically I like studying how big things form. I study how galaxies form, how stars form, and how supermassive black holes form. Recently, I started studying how planets form"
Now new findings by Caltech researchers may help to test a model that helps explain the problem of supermassive black holes existing in the early universe—such black holes would have formed less than one billion years after the Big Bang.