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Andrea Ghez speaks at TED Global on black holes

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Andrea Ghez, a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy and a 2008 MacArthur Fellow, gave an invited talk at Oxford at TED Global, a nonprofit gathering devoted to "ideas worth spreading." Previous TED speakers have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Michelle Obama, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Malcolm Gladwell, and Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
 
The speech, given in July 2009, was recently posted online.
 
By measuring the orbits of stars at the heart of our galaxy, Ghez and her research team have answered one of astronomy's most important questions: showing that a monstrous black hole resides at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, some 26,000 light-years away, with a mass more than 4 million times that of the sun.
 
The question had been a subject of raging debate among astronomers for more than a quarter of a century. Nothing can escape black holes, not even light. In her talk, Ghez addressed how astronomers observe something they cannot see.
 
Ghez uses novel, ground-based telescopic techniques to identify thousands of new star systems and illuminate the role of supermassive black holes in the evolution of galaxies.
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