Image - Heino Falcke

Past Event

Heino Falcke: Black Holes, the Universe, and Us

Join us for a virtual discussion, live-streamed direct from Berlin, Germany, with Heino Falcke, the German astrophysicist, about his research into the nature of black holes. His new book A Light in the Darkness is the story of how the first photographic evidence of black holes was achieved by Falcke in April 2019, and what its significance for humanity might be. Falcke wrestles with the ways in which black holes force us to confront the boundary where human life ends and the celestial begins. He also ponders why black holes are so difficult for most of us to understand, comparing that to our inability to envisage our own inevitable death.

Black holes develop when a massive star dies, and its matter is condensed. That extreme amount of mass contained in a small space generates a gigantic amount of gravitational force, allowing the black hole to suck up everything that comes near, including light. These astronomical wonders are the subject of intense scientific and philosophical theorizing—the journey to a black hole might even be a journey to the end of time itself. Which is why Falcke regards black holes as exquisite representations of fear, death—and, surprisingly, the divine.

Empirical and profound, Falcke examines both the physical nature and the spiritual meaning of black holes, which he calls “the epitome of merciless destruction.”

MLF Organizer
George Hammond

MLF: Humanities

This is a free-for-members program. Members: Click on the "Buy Tickets" button above to order your tickets, and select the members link on the left side of the page. Your username is the email you used to sign up as a member. You can also request a password reset if needed. Discount will automatically be applied at checkout.

Copies of Falcke's book, A Light in the Darkness, are available for purchase during registration (for shipment to U.S. domestic addresses only).

This is an online-only program; you must pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

In association with Wonderfest.

Photo by Boris Breuer.

May 27, 2021

United States

Image - Heino Falcke

Heino Falcke

Professor, Radio Astronomy and Astroparticle Physics, Radboud University Nijmegen; Winner, 2011 Spinoza Prize; Author, A Light in the Darkness: Black Holes, the Universe, and Us

Image - George Hammond

In Conversation with George Hammond

Author, Conversations With Socrates


10–11 a.m. (Pacific Time) program