Inaugural Lecture - 'Turning in the Widening Gyre: Accretion Processes in the Universe'

25 Apr 2013 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Examination Schools, 75-81 High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BG
The South School
General public (Age 14+)

delivered by
Professor Steven Balbus
Savilian Professor of Astronomy

Abstract: A one sentence summary of much of the history of our Universe might be that it is the formation of ever more complex and compact structure from a diffuse background.  The build-up of a compact core of material from more tenuous surroundings is known as accretion, and it is a process common to much of astrophysics, from the early creation of giant clusters of galaxies to current star, planet, and black hole formation.  In this Lecture, I will give a general and personal overview of accretion physics.  I will discuss some of the theoretical successes the community has enjoyed in its struggle to understand accretion, together with ongoing challenges.   Above all, I will try to convey a sense of the richness of accretion as a physical process, and the role it has played in enhancing a deeper understanding of many astrophysical phenomena.

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