Astro Night – July 7th

Fri, July 08, 2016

Astro night event image


Doors: 7:30 pm
Talk: 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Stargazing*: 9:00 pm – 10:30 pm

Ryan Trainor (UCB) – "How to Grow a Galaxy"

The galaxies of our night sky are as diverse and colorful as any garden—and for the most part, just as tranquil. When we look back at the ancient universe, however, a different picture emerges: a cosmos that buzzes with activity and teems with the fresh growth of stars and black holes. How did these processes that formed our Milky Way begin? Why did they stop? And where did it all come from, anyway? This talk will explore the tumultuous history of our Universe, focusing on its evolution from a (mostly) uniform cloud of plasma to the dizzyingly complex array of stars and galaxies we see today. We’ll discuss how the seeds of galaxy formation were planted during the Big Bang, how budding galaxies collect the food for new stars, and how, like a cosmic autumn, this rampant growth transitioned into the fading colors and staid calm of our current galactic epoch.

Leaving horticultural metaphors aside, we’ll also discuss topics that have no terrestrial analogy: the mysterious, yet essential, contributions of dark matter and black holes to galaxy evolution. They may not make wormholes (sorry, Interstellar fans), but we’ll examine the ways in which astronomers can actually harness the incredible power of black holes to study the most baffling aspects of galaxy growth.


Ryan Trainor is a postdoctoral fellow at the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on observations of the formation and evolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes in the early universe. Ryan received his PhD and Master's Degrees in Astrophysics from Caltech and his Bachelor's Degree in Physics from UC Irvine. Zot Zot!

*NOTE*: Stargazing is dependent on weather conditions; lectures will always occur as scheduled. For more information please visit the Astro Night event page.