24 June, 20:00, SAAO Auditorium: Kai Staats will give a presentation entitled From Dark Skies to Data Mining: A Passion for Understanding the Universe. The talk will address the situation where few people today are able to experience the brilliance of the milky way due to light pollution and yet our window on the universe is expanding enormously through projects such as the SKA and LIGO. We are faced with the challenges of fighting to preserve dark skies and at the same time enjoying the benefits of the massive quantities of data now becoming available. He will then screen his film LIGO: A Passion for Understanding. LIGO stands for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, a large-scale physics experiment aimed at directly detecting gravitational waves. These ripples in the space-time, known as ‘The Big Bang’s Smoking Gun’ were predicted by Einstein in 1916 and will provide detailed information about black holes as well as the very early universe. A LIGO scientist will be available, via a Skype link, to answer questions on this topic.
Kai Staats is an entrepreneur, writer, film maker and now student once more, earning his MSc in Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town / African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cosmology Research Group, South Africa.