Date: Saturday 13th October | Time: 2.15pm – 3.15pm

Prof Paul O’Brien

Professor Paul O’Brien is Head of the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Leicester, having previously worked at Oxford University and University College London. He studies the most luminous explosive transients in the Universe, including Gamma-Ray Bursts and Tidal Disruption Events, and is an author on over 200 publications. Professor O’Brien is a member of the NASA Swift satellite Project X-ray Telescope team, the China-France SVOM satellite Microchannel-Plate X-ray Telescope team and he is co-Chair of the ESA Athena satellite explosive transients working group. He is also a member of the Cherenkov Telescope Array consortium, the HESS telescope science team and the Gravitational Wave Optical Transient Observer (GOTO) consortium. Professor O’Brien is Chair of the Astronomy Advisory Panel for the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a member of the American Astronomical Society and a member of the International Astronomical Union.





Lecture synopsis

The violent Universe

The Universe is a highly dynamic place containing exploding stars and merging compact objects capable of releasing more energy in a few seconds than an entire cluster of galaxies of stars. I will describe how we search for the explosive death of stellar systems which produce the most energetic objects know using powerful observatories in space and on the ground. I will also describe what the future holds as we build even more sensitive observatories which will enable us to continuously monitor the dynamic sky using both light and gravitational waves.