Seven Pines Public Lecture: Peter Galison

Philosophy of the Shadow: Imaging a Supermassive Black Hole

About the talk: In thousands of atlases depicting the working objects of inquiry—from bodies, clouds, plants, to crystals and insects—physicians and natural philosophers worked out what counted as scientific objectivity. This long-term history, with its various takes on what a reliable scientific image should be, converged in the years-long struggle of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) to produce a picture of a black hole robust enough to make public. On April 10, 2019, the team released the first image of a black hol leased the first image of a black hole, an image viewed within a very few days by more than a billion people. This talk is about how the EHT team of some 200 scientists came to judge the glowing, crescent-like ring as objective.

About the Speaker:Peter Galison is a physicist, historian of science, and filmmaker at Harvard University, where he is the Joseph Pellegrino University Professor and Director of the Black Hole Initiative. In 1997, he was named a MacArthur Fellow; with his Event Horizon Telescope colleagues, Galison shared in the 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for the first image of a black hole. He is the author of several books, including How Experiments End; Image and Logic; Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps; and (with L. Daston), Objectivity. Galison partnered (as dramaturg) with South African artist William Kentridge on a multi-screen installation, The Refusal of Time (2012) and an associated chamber opera. He and Robb Moss co-directed Secrecy (2008), on national security secrecy, which premiered at Sundance. The two also co-directed Containment (2015), about the need to guard radio-active materials. The latest film produced and directed by Peter Galison is: Black Holes: the Edge of All we Know, which was released in 2020 (and is available on channels like Netflix, AppleTV and others).

About the Lecture: The Seven Pines public lecture is part of an annual symposium held by the Seven Pines Institute. It is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science at the University of Minnesota and The Science Museum of Minnesota.

Start date
Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 7 p.m.
End date
Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 8 p.m.