What Can Black Holes Tell Us About Humanity? Janna Levin’s NOVA Episode Investigates
What’s more powerful, mysterious, and let’s be honest—existentially daunting—than a black hole? Tonight, the venerable PBS science show NOVA releases “Black Hole Apocalypse,” hosted by astrophysicist, author, and TED speaker Janna Levin. The two-hour special takes viewers on a journey to the frontiers of black hole science and (thankfully) back again.
Speaker, Yale professor, astrophysicist and author: Janna Levin is intrepid, to say the least. In her brand new special for PBS, Levin explores the possibility that black holes may be essential to how our universe evolved—their influence possibly leading to life on Earth. Within this striking investigation, Levin introduces us to leading astronomers and physicists, like Nobel Prize-winner and Lavin speaker Kip Thorne. As Levin tells us with her trademark clarity and wit, these brilliant scientists are on the verge of finding new answers about black holes: where do they come from? What’s inside? What happens if you fall into one? And what can they tell us about the nature of space, time, and gravity?
Of course, this isn’t Levin’s first time to this particular part of the cosmos. In her acclaimed book Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, Levin recounts the fascinating story of the obsessions, the aspirations, and the trials of Thorne and his colleagues as they embarked on an arduous, fifty-year endeavor to capture gravitational waves at LIGO.
As a speaker, Levin explains theoretical astrophysics in a way that makes sense. Grounding her knowledge in human experience, she invites us to see the world with new eyes and ears, as she did in her TED Talk, wherein she discusses “the sound the universe makes.”
Black Hole Apocalypse airs tonight at 9pm on PBS. Watch the trailer below.