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The formation of supermassive black holes in the universe

Populations of quasars powered by accretion onto SMBHs with masses in excess of 10^9 solar masses are now detected when the Universe was barely a Gyr old. And in the local universe the centers of several nearby brightest cluster galaxies harbor behemoths that weigh ~ a few times 10^10 solar masses. I will discuss how these monster black holes likely form and what observational signatures can test the various formation & growth scenarios. Aside from outlining the current status of our understanding, I will close with the open exciting questions and challenges ahead for theory given the wealth of observational data in hand and in the pipeline.

Cody Hall

Priya Natarajan (Yale)

October 04, 2013
14:00 - 15:00