Science Social 05: The Discovery of Black Holes

The Discovery of Black Holes—with Alexander Blum and Juan-Andres Leon

Over the past century, physicists and astronomers have brought to light one of the most elusive and powerful phenomena in our universe: black holes. Unobservable to the human eye, even their sheer existence has been contested until recently. The breathtaking first-ever image of a black hole, taken by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) in 2019, marks just one step in a complex ongoing history of revealing and understanding them. Further recent discoveries, including telescope pictures of a black hole in polarized light, continue to amaze and captivate not only scientists but the world at large.Science Social podcast logo

So what did it take for black holes to go from theoretical construct to observed reality? How did Einstein's theory of general relativity play a role in their discovery and elucidation? And how do we continue to discover and "see" black holes, even in our own galaxy?

Join "Science Social" podcast host Stephanie Hood on a journey through history-in-the-making with scholars Alexander Blum and Juan Andres Leon Gomez, who weave together 100 years of fascinating human stories and scientific insights that have shed light on the existence of these fields of spacetime where gravity is so strong that nothing—no particles, or even light—can escape.



Produced by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science; Theme song by Podington Bear, CC NY-NC 3.0