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The R. Kent Nagle Lecture Series

April 1, 2010

Arlie O. Petters explores the topic “Einstein, Higher Dimensions, and Black Holes”

Audience The talk is directed at a general audience and is open to the public. There is no entrance fee.
Date April 1, 2010
Time Thursday evening, 8:00-9:00 p.m.
Place BSF 100, at USF-Tampa (For a map of the campus, click here.)
Parking Free parking is available in Lots 2A and 2B (adjacent to the Bio-Science lecture hall BSF 100).

Arlie Oswald Petters

Arlie O. Petters
Einstein, Higher Dimensions, and Black Holes

Description of the Talk

Einstein's theory assumes that we live in a four-dimensional universe: one dimension of time and three dimensions of space — length, width, and height. Could there be an extra dimension to physical space, namely, a fifth dimension? If so, how would we know it is there? If true, this provocative idea would have a profound change in our perception of the natural world, analogous to how we no longer think of the earth as flat.

The talk will address this intriguing issue through the gravitational action of tiny black holes on light.

Description of the Speaker

Dr. Arlie Oswald Petters is the Benjamin Powell Professor and Professor of Mathematics, Physics, and Business Administration at Duke University. He was also the William & Sue Gross Associate Professor at Duke from 1998-2003.

Dr. Petters' research on gravitational lensing deals with how light is affected by the warping of space and time. He was the first to develop the mathematical theory of gravitational lensing, which brought powerful methods from pure mathematics to bear on astronomy. Dr. Petters also pioneered new applications of gravitational lensing in physics, predicting effects that probe the nature of spacetime around black holes and developing tests of gravitational theories like Einstein's general relativity and hyperspace gravity models.

Dr. Petters has received many awards and honors for his innovative research, including an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, an NSF Career Grant award, and the first Blackwell-Tapia prize in the Mathematical Sciences. He was also selected in 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences to be part of a Portrait Collection of Outstanding African-Americans in Science, Engineering, and Medicine. In recognition of Dr. Petters's outstanding scientific and educational work, he was named in 2008 by the Queen of England to Membership in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.


The Organizing Committee of the NLS consists of Arthur Danielyan (Chair), Mohamed Elhamdadi, Nataša Jonoska, Dmitry Khavinson and Richard Stark. The Committee thanks the USF Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the College of Arts and Sciences for sponsoring this event.