Scott Tremaine Public Lecture to Explore Milky Way Galaxy’s Central Black Hole

Press Contact

Lee Sandberg

For the first time in human history, the world laid eyes on an image of a black hole and the ghostly shadow of its event horizon. Yet despite this illuminating breakthrough, many more questions remain unanswered of the ubiquitous dark structures found throughout the universe. On May 3, 2019, Scott Tremaine, Richard Black Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, will deliver a public lecture on the evidence for a supermassive black hole at the core of the Milky Way galaxy, denoted Sagittarius A*. His talk will focus on what we know, what we hope to learn, and the techniques being used to study this exotic object.

A panel discussion will follow, featuring current and former Members in the School of Natural Sciences: Tim de Zeeuw, Former Director General, European Southern Observatory; Elena Murchikova; and Dimitrios Psaltis, Project Scientist, Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).

The now-famous black hole image released by the EHT project on April 10, 2019 was captured from approximately 53 million light years away in the galaxy Messier 87. In the near future, EHT is expected to release an image of Sagittarius A*—a target much closer to home—marking another historic first and valuable window onto the properties of black holes, their event horizons, and gravity.

The public event, sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study, will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3, 2019, in Wolfensohn Hall, and will be livestreamed at Admission is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register for this event, visit

For press interested in covering the event, please contact Lee Sandberg at For more information on public lectures and events at the Institute, visit

About the Institute
The Institute for Advanced Study is one of the world's foremost centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. Located in Princeton, N.J., the IAS is dedicated to independent study across the sciences and humanities. Founded in 1930 with the motto "Truth and Beauty," the Institute is devoted to advancing the frontiers of knowledge without concern for immediate application. From founding IAS Professor Albert Einstein to the foremost thinkers of today, the IAS enables bold, nonconformist, field-leading research that provides long-term utility and new technologies, leading to innovation and enrichment of society in unexpected ways.

Each year, the Institute welcomes more than 200 of the world's most promising researchers and scholars who are selected and mentored by a permanent Faculty, each of whom are preeminent leaders in their fields. Comprised of four Schools—Historical Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social Science—IAS has produced an astounding record of introducing new understanding and is responsible for undeniable progress across disciplines and generations, from the development of one of the first stored-program computers to the establishment of art history as a discipline in the United States. Among its present and past Faculty and Members are 33 Nobel Laureates, 42 of the 60 Fields Medalists, and 18 of the 20 Abel Prize Laureates, as well as many MacArthur Fellows and Wolf Prize winners.