"Black Holes, Galaxies and the Evolution of the Universe" by Meg Urry, Ph.D


Friday, Oct. 22  I   2 p.m. EDT
Science Commons  I   Towson University Science Complex


The Hill-Lopes Scholars Program and Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics at Towson University present Meg Urry, Ph.D. as she shares her research of black holes and advocacy for advancing women in STEM.

Meg Urry Portrait
Dr. Meg Urry, Yale University

Black holes form at the centers of galaxies in the young Universe and, over the next 13 billion years, they grow together by factors of a million or more in mass. This growth generates energy that affects galaxy evolution, including that of the Milky Way galaxy in which we live. In this talk, Urry will give several alternative descriptions of a black hole, explain how recent multi-wavelength surveys of the sky have provided a census of black hole growth, and show computer simulations that illustrate galaxy mergers and the evolution of the universe across cosmic time – all of which explains how the present-day universe came to be.

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Meg Urry is the Israel Munson Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University, Director of the Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics, former Chair of the Yale Physics Department, and former President of the American Astronomical Society. Dr. Urry earned her Ph.D. in Physics from the Johns Hopkins University and her B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from Tufts University. Her scientific research on active galaxies appears in over 330 refereed research papers, including one of the most highly cited review papers in astronomy. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Sciences, and received the Annie Jump Cannon and George van Biesbroeck prizes from the American Astronomical Society.

Prior to moving to Yale in 2001, Dr. Urry was a senior astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which runs the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA. Professor Urry is known for her efforts to increase the participation of women and minorities in science, for which she won the 2015 Edward A. Bouchet Leadership Award from Yale University and the 2010 Women in Space Science Award from the Adler Planetarium. She is the founding Physics instructor for the Global Teaching Project, which provides advanced courses to promising high school students in under-served areas, beginning with a pilot program in rural Mississippi. She also writes about science for

This event is hosted by the Hill-Lopes Scholars Program at Towson University. Funded by the generosity of Barbara Hill and Ancelmo Lopes, the Hill-Lopes Scholars Program supports women in STEM at Towson University and aims to retain women in the STEM workforce. 



Past Events:

“A Lab of One’s Own: One Woman’s Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science” by Rita Colwell, Ph.D.

Rita Colwell

Friday, Oct. 23  |  3 p.m. EDT via Zoom

The Hill-Lopes Scholars Program and Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics at Towson University present Rita Colwell, Ph.D. as she shares stories from her new memoir, "A Lab of One’s Own: One Woman’s Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science."

“A Lab of One’s Own” documents Colwell’s journey through six decades in science, from sexual harassment in the lab to obscure systems blocking women from leading professional organizations or publishing their work. “A Lab of One’s Own” shares the sheer joy a scientist feels when moving toward a breakthrough, and the thrill of uncovering a whole new generation of female pioneers. Colwell’s writing offers an astute diagnosis of how to fix the problem of sexism in science, and celebrates the women who push back.

A Lab of One's Own: One Woman's Personal Journey through Sexism in Science. Former Director of the National Science Foundation. Rita Colwell, PhD and Sharon Bertsch McGrayne

Colwell is a groundbreaking microbiologist and the first woman to lead the National Science Foundation, where she served as the director from 1998 to 2004. She is a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.