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Edo Berger: Gamma-Ray Bursts; The Biggest Explosions Since the Big Bang

Drawing of a massive star collapsing to form a black hole. Energy released as jets along the axis of rotation forms a gamma ray burst that lasts from a few milliseconds to minutes. Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller of the NSF

Drawing of a massive star collapsing to form a black hole. Energy released as jets along the axis of rotation forms a gamma ray burst that lasts from a few milliseconds to minutes. Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller of the NSF

 

Hosted by Harvard University, in this lecture on Gamma-Ray Bursts at the Harvard Department of Physics, professor Berger describes the ensuing decades-long quest to decipher the origin and energy source of these mysterious explosions. He explains how gamma-ray bursts are now used to probe the first generation of stars and galaxies formed less than a billion years after the Big Bang.