Oswego professor to discuss 'scientific discovery of the century'


February 25, 2016

“Gravitational Waves: The Scientific Discovery of the Century” will be the topic of the next Science Today lecture at SUNY Oswego at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 3, in Room 170 of the Shineman Center on campus.

Dr. Shashi M. Kanbur, professor and chair of the college’s physics department, will speak.

The lecture will be open to the public free of charge. Those without a SUNY Oswego parking permit may obtain a $1 one-day parking pass online or from the college’s parking office on Route 104 near the college’s main entrance before 4 p.m.

Kanbur will place the recent discovery of gravitational waves in context by describing Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity, previous tests of the theory of general relativity and some details regarding the experimental procedures and tests used to confirm the discovery.

Besides providing further evidence to support the theory of general relativity, the existence of black holes and the existence of black hole collisions, research in this area opens up a new window on the universe, Kanbur said.

Widely published in the top peer-reviewed journals in astrophysics, Kanbur leads international teams of researchers in research on stellar pulsation and the origin, development and extra-galactic distance scale of the universe. His research is funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation and the American Astronomical Society, among other agencies.

A native of India who was educated largely in the United Kingdom, Kanbur holds degrees from the University of London, University of Cambridge and Stanford University.

He teaches a wide range of courses at Oswego, from introductory physics and astronomy courses to cosmology and general relativity. He played a key role in developing SUNY Oswego’s Global Laboratory, which sends undergraduates abroad to participate in research in laboratories in Latin America, Asia and Europe.

Kanbur has research colleagues around the world who were directly involved in the recent discovery of gravitational waves. His lecture will close with a discussion of how SUNY Oswego undergraduates could be involved in future work on gravitational waves.