Quasars are among the most dramatic objects anywhere in the cosmos. They emit prodigious amounts of energy, all due to a supermassive black hole at the heart of a galaxy. Visible far across the Universe, quasars can be used to trace both the early life of galaxies, and the properties of the intervening space.
Professor Carolin Crawford
Outreach Officer at the Instituteof Astronomy and Fellow of Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, Professor Carolin Crawford is one of Britain's foremost science communicators.
After receiving her PhD from NewnhamCollege, Cambridge, Professor Crawford went on to a series of fellowships from BalliolCollege, Oxford, Trinity Hall, Cambridge and the Royal Society. In 2004 she was appointed as a Fellow and College Lecturer at EmmanuelCollege, Cambridge, where she is now also the undergraduate Admissions Tutor for the Physical Sciences. Since 2005 she has combined her college role with that of Outreach Officer at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge.
Professor Crawford’s primary research interests are in combining X-ray, optical and near-infrared observations to study the physical processes occurring around massive galaxies at the core of clusters of galaxies. In particular, she observes the complex interplay between the hot intra-cluster medium, filaments of warm ionized gas, cold molecular clouds, star formation and the radio plasma flowing out from the central supermassive black hole.
In 2009 Professor Crawford’s outstanding abilities at science communication were recognized by a Women of Outstanding AchievementAward by the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology, presented for “communication of science with a contribution to society.”
Appointed as the 36thGresham Professor of Astronomy in 2011, Professor Crawford looks forward to presenting her Gresham lectures wherein she plans “to showcase the very latest developments and ideas in astronomy and cosmology, whilst putting them into the context of the process of scientific discovery.”
How are black holes formed? And what can they tell us about the age of the universe? Professor Carolin Crawford sheds light on several cutting edge theories that describe existence of these massive gravitational wells, captivating both physicists and the public alike.