On Wednesday, June 24 I will address the Astronomical Society of South Africa, at the SAAO auditorium.

The official write-up was presented as follows:

Kai Staats will give a presentation entitled “From Dark Skies to Data Mining: A Propensity for Pattern Recognition”. The talk will address the situation where few people today are able to experience the brilliance of the milky way due to light pollution and yet our window on the universe is expanding enormously through projects such as the SKA and LIGO.

We are faced with the challenges of fighting to preserve dark skies and at the same time enjoying the benefits of the massive quantities of data becoming available. He will then screen his film “LIGO, A Passion for Understanding”. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, a large-scale physics experiment, is aimed at directly detecting gravitational waves. These ripples in the space-time, known as ‘The Big Bang’s Smoking Gun’ were predicted by Einstein in 1916 and will provide detailed information
about black holes as well as the very early universe. Marco Cavaglia, astrophysicist and member of the LIGO Collaboration will be available, via Skype, to answer questions following the film.

Kai Staats is an entrepreneur, writer, film maker and now student once more, earning his MSc in Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town / African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cosmology Research Group, South Africa.