18th November Lecture: Viewing the Universe in light of Gravitational Lensing.

Einstein’s theory of general relativity famously unified gravity with the geometry of the Universe, making two remarkable predictions:

  • that light-rays take a straight path through space;
  • that mass bends the space surrounding it.

Together, this means that where there is mass, light appears bent, a phenomenon known today as gravitational lensing and a tool used by astrophysicists to study almost everything in the Universe; from planets on stars neighbouring the Sun to weighing the entire observable Universe.

Durham University’s Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy James Nightingale will give a run-through of the exciting and innovative ways that astronomers are using gravitational lensing to obtain a new and unique view of the Universe and speculate how it may hold our best hope of one day disproving Einstein’s famous theory.