• Mexican President to teach at Harvard

    Mexican President Felipe Calderón will be joining Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the school announced Wednesday.

    The announcement comes after months of speculation that Calderón had been in talks with UT officials about a post-presidency teaching position. In August, the Dallas Morning News reported that Calderón and President William Powers Jr. had met twice to discuss the idea of teaching at UT.

    Calderón’s six year term ends this week and he will step into his role at Harvard as the Inaugural Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow in spring 2013.

    In a Harvard Kennedy School press release, Calderon said he looks forward to using the fellowship to examine his time in office and share his experiences with others at the school.

    “This Fellowship will be a tremendous opportunity for me to reflect upon my six years in office, to connect with scholars and students at Harvard, and to begin work on the important papers that will document the many challenges that we faced, and the policy positions that we developed during my administration,”Calderón said.

    Calderón received a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School in 2000.

    In September, when Calderón was rumored to be a candidate for a teaching position at UT, students and community members interrupted a conference on campus voicing their opposition to the Mexican president.

  • UT's telescope finds massive black hole, challenges former theories

    Image of lenticular galaxy NGC 1277 taken with Hubble Space Telescope. This small, flattened galaxy contains one of the most massive central black holes ever found. At 17 billion solar masses, the black hole weighs an extraordinary 14% of the total galaxy mass. (Credit: NASA/ESA/Andrew C. Fabian)
    Image of lenticular galaxy NGC 1277 taken with Hubble Space Telescope. This small, flattened galaxy contains one of the most massive central black holes ever found. At 17 billion solar masses, the black hole weighs an extraordinary 14% of the total galaxy mass. (Credit: NASA/ESA/Andrew C. Fabian)

    Theories about how black holes are grown inside a galaxy may have to be modified because of a recent discovery astronomers made using UT’s Hobby-Eberly Telescope.

    While working on a study to better understand how galaxies grow and form together, astronomers discovered a massive black hole with a size relative to its galaxy bigger than any before. Discovered in galaxy NGC 1277, the black hole makes up 14 percent of the galaxy’s mass. Usually, black holes make up .1 percent of  a galaxy’s mass. This black hole has the mass of 17 billion suns.

    This diagram shows how the diameter of the 17-billion-solar-mass black hole in the heart of galaxy NGC 1277 compares with the orbit of Neptune around the Sun. The black hole is eleven times wider than Neptune's orbit. Shown here in two dimensions, the "edge" of the black hole is actually a sphere. This boundary is called the "event horizon," the point from beyond which, once crossed, neither matter nor light can return. (Credit: D. Benningfield/K. Gebhardt/StarDate)

    Karl Gebhardt, UT professor and member of the study, said the black hole “stuck out like a sore thumb.”

    “It just has such an extreme black hole mass compared to its galaxy, that it is really going to strain the theories as to how you grow a black hole inside a galaxy,” Gebhardt said.

    The study is ongoing, but Gebhardt said if they find other galaxies in similar situations then this could contradict current black hole theories.

    “If this is an extreme oddball galaxy, then, you know, odd things happen, this is a big universe, you’re going to get some weird ones now and then,” Gebhardt said. “But if we find these to be a pattern, which is my suspicion now, then we are going to have to modify the theories for how you grow a black hole.” 

    NGC 1277 (center) is embedded in the nearby Perseus galaxy cluster. All the elliptical and round yellow galaxies in the picture are located in this cluster. NGC 1277 is a relatively compact galaxy compared to the galaxies around it. The Perseus cluster is 250 million light years from us. (Credit: David W. Hogg, Michael Blanton, and the SDSS Collaboration)