Shri Kulkarni, Fast Radio Bursts - What's Next?, Sept 10, 2020

Science Video • September 10th, 2020

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) were discovered 13 years ago. The advances in the initial phase was the recognition of a large all-sky rate of perhaps of 104 per day followed by the discovery of repeating FRBs or “repeaters” which are either a new class or a subclass. The progress in the last few years has been spectacular. Astronomers have now localized FRBs to their host galaxies at cosmological distances and in some cases to specific locale, such as spiral arms or nuclear region. Just a few months ago, a mega Jansky burst was linked to an active magnetar in our own Galaxy. So at least some FRBs (repeaters) are linked to magnetars. Separately, the use of FRBs for “tomography” of the intergalactic medium (IGM) is now a veritable cottage industry. In talk, I will review the status of this rapidly changing field, speculate on other possible origins of FRBs and end with a forecast for the next five (possibly ten) years.