“Black Holes, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy through the Eyes of Texas”


Dr. Karl Gebhardt

Dr. Karl Gebhardt
Herman and Joan Suit Professor of Astrophysics, Department of Astronomy
The University of Texas at Austin

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
5:45 p.m. – Networking Reception
6:30 p.m. – Presentation

We are living through a remarkable era for astronomy where we are understanding the basic properties of the universe. These include dark energy which determines how the universe expands, dark matter that is the dominate component of mass in the universe, and black holes which are gravity’s ultimate triumph. Dr. Karl Gebhardt will present the current state of knowledge for each of these phenomenon, and discuss future advances primarily coming from the Hobby-Eberly Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX).


Dr. Gebhardt is the Herman and Joan Suit Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin. He grew up in the snow-filled winters of Rochester, New York. His career has taken him through Michigan State University, Rutgers University (where he received his PhD in 1994), fellowships at the University of Michigan and University of California at Santa Cruz, and finally to The University of Texas at Austin in 2000.

He has won numerous awards, including: Northeastern Graduate Schools Dissertation Award (1995), a Hubble Fellowship from NASA (1997), teaching excellence Awards from The University of Texas (2003) and McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors (2004), and a National Science Foundation Career Award. In 2012, he received the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Science from The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas.

Dr. Gebhardt He works with numerous undergraduate and graduate students, and involves them in all levels of his research. Most of his career has focused on understanding the role that black holes play in the formation of a galaxy. He has measured more black hole masses than anyone in the world, and he is actively targeting many more galaxies for this study. His recent work focused on understanding dark energy with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX). It was shown a few years ago that the Universe is expanding much faster than what had been expected. Scientists have called this extra expansion dark energy, a mysterious force that works to counteract the pull of gravity. It is actually pushing the Universe apart. Dr. Gebhardt and his colleagues have outlined a unique approach to study dark energy using the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory.