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In the second of three talks celebrating the World Year of Physics, which commemorates the life and work of Albert Einstein, Justin Corvino, assistant professor of mathematics, will give a lecture entitled “On the Structure of Isolated Systems in General Relativity” noon Friday in Gagnon Lecture Hall, Hugel Science Center room 100.

The Physics Club and the campus chapter of Sigma Xi, the international honor society for scientific and engineering research, are sponsoring the event. Free pizza and drinks will be provided.

The talk will begin with a discussion of how Einstein’s general theory of relativity supports a mathematical model for isolated gravitational systems. Corvino will introduce the first mathematical model of a black hole in general relativity, the Schwarzschild solution, and then present the work of Roger Penrose in modeling isolated systems and studying the features of gravitational radiation. He will close with a discussion of how his own work has helped to provide an updated answer on an open problem considering the time, nearly 40 years, since Penrose’s proposal was formulated.

“I hope to convey some sense of the interplay of geometry and physics inherent in Einstein’s theory of relativity,” he says. “Hopefully some (students who attend) will be motivated to take more math and physics courses to obtain more of the background needed to understand Einstein’s theory.”

Before coming to Lafayette, Corvino was an assistant professor and National Science Foundation post-doctoral research fellow at Brown University. His research interests include differential geometry, general relativity, and partial differential equations.

Corvino will teach geometric analysis and general relativity, a topic within differential geometry, in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates at Lafayette this summer. In the intensive, eight-week research program, students investigate open problems in mathematics in small groups guided by Lafayette math professors.

In last week’s World Year of Physics event, David Hogenboom, professor emeritus of physics, discussed the occurrences and potential importance of Epsom salts found on Mars and Jupiter’s moon.

Categorized in: Academic News