„In March 1781, William Herschel with his powerful telescope spotted a new object in the sky, Uranus, which became the first discovery of a new planet since the antiquity. We will dive briefly into the lives of William and his sister Caroline Herschel in their passionate pursuit of astronomy. In the past two centuries since the time of Herschel, astronomers have continued to make ever more powerful telescopes to probe the dark Universe. Not only human-made telescopes — the heavens have also gifted us with giant cosmic lenses. A century ago, the first detection of the bending of light by gravity has enabled us to use this effect of „gravitational lensing“ as nature’s cosmic telescope. We will explore how gravitational lensing can be used to detect extrasolar planets, probe the mysterious dark matter and dark energy, and measure the expansion rate of our Universe.“
From H0LiCOW to HOLISMOKES
Prof. Dr. Sherry Suyu is an associate professor at TUM for observational cosmology and a Max Planck Fellow at the MPA in Garching. She has become internationally renowned for leading the H0LiCOW programme to measure the expansion rate of the universe using gravitationally lensed quasars and, since 2017, for leading HOLISMOKES, which has nothing to do with religion or addiction, but instead with lensed supernovae.
Therefore, Prof. Suyu is a world leading expert in the field of gravitational lensing, another prediction of Einstein’s that proved true. And we are particularly happy to host a lecture event with her during the series of festive lectures on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of our observatory.
Being a strong advocate of equal opportunity and a women’s representative at TUM, Prof. Suyu sees Caroline Herschel, the sister of William Herschel, as a strong role model for women in science up to this date, considering the conditions of the time. Hence the crosslink to the Herschels in this talk.
Most recently in this October, Prof. Suyu was awarded a Max Planck Fellowship at MPA Garching in recognition of her promotion to associate professor at the TU München and for her outstanding research work and will be thus enabled to lead another research group for the next 5 years.
Moreover, in 2021, she received the Lancelot M. Berkeley-New York Community Trust Prize for Meritorious Work in Astronomy.