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WiSE Webinar: From Black Holes to Cable-stayed Bridges


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Seemingly disparate topics are often connected in surprising and important ways. In this talk, I will explore some of these connections, with examples from my current work at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Astronomical Sciences. One of the key scientific goals identified for the upcoming decade as described in The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine 2020 Decadal Survey in Astronomy and Astrophysics includes the search for habitable exoplanets, which connects to the broader existential question, “Are we alone in the Universe?” It was this type of big question combined with the beauty of the cosmos and a technical, scientific approach to gathering data that drew me to study astrophysics. Continuing to expand the limits of our knowledge of the Universe and our place in it now requires larger, more complicated telescopes and more innovative ways to “see through the noise”, especially as light pollution and radio noise are increasing.