From the Program Chair

by Ira Polans

The December meeting of the AAAP will be held on the 10th at 7:30 PM in the auditorium of Peyton Hall on the Princeton University campus. The talk is on Gamma-ray Bursts: Unraveling the mystery of the universe’s brightest explosions by Patrick Crumley Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University.

Understanding the source of gamma-ray bursts–brief, extremely bright flashes of gamma-rays–was a driving force in high energy astronomy for more than 30 years. The mystery started when gamma-ray bursts were serendipitously discovered by nuclear anti-proliferation satellites at the height of the cold war, and the final piece of the puzzle came just 2 years ago in 2017 with the first simultaneous detection of a gamma-ray burst in both gravity waves and gamma-rays. I will give an overview of the history of high energy astronomy, and how satellites, ground based observers, and theorists all worked in concert to unravel the mystery of the gamma-ray bursters. Because of the hard work of several academic generations of astronomers, we now know that gamma-ray bursts are produced by luminous jets traveling close to the speed of light, launched by the most violent explosions in the universe: the death of massive stars in a supernova, or in the merger of two neutron stars.

We’re looking for a member to give the first 10 minute talk of the season. If you’re interested please contact me at and let me know which month you want to give your talk. If you have an idea and are unsure how to present it please contact Rex at or Ira at As announced earlier rather than give your talk at the beginning of the meeting your talk will be given after the break.

There will be a meet the speaker dinner at 6 PM at Winberie’s in Palmer Square prior to the meeting. If you are interested in attending please email me by noon on December 10 at

This entry was posted in December 2019, Sidereal Times and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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