Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
Shrinivas R. Kulkarni, professor of astronomy and planetary sciences at the California Institute of Technology, will speak on "The Brilliant Gamma Ray Bursts: Dying Cries From the Universe" and "The Search for Extra-Solar Planets: Are We Alone?" at the physics department's David H. Harris Lectures to be held in Rm 10-250 at 4:15pm on October 25 and 26.
Professor Kulkarni, who is on leave from Caltech to be a visiting professor in the MIT Department of Physics for the academic year 2001, focuses on extreme objects: stars too small to burn hydrogen, stars as dense as atomic nuclei, and cosmic explosions visible across the breadth of the observable universe. He has developed a variety of new techniques to study these problems. Over the past decade, he and his group have worked on pulsars, old neutron stars, brown dwarfs, soft gamma-ray repeaters, gamma-ray bursters and supernova remnants.
In April, he will speak on "Next Generation Telescopes" as the third in the three-lecture series.
The David H. Harris Lectures are named for a 1922 physics graduate of MIT who worked for Eastman Kodak, Gillette, Submarine Signal, Conmar Products, Shenango China and Arthur D. Little. He was married to the late Edith Endicott Young Harris, who established the Harris Lectures in 1992 as a tribute to her late husband.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 25, 2000.