Physics Colloquium - Black Hole Astrophysics: From the Dawn of the Universe to Today

Event Date: 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Broida 1640


Kevin Schawinski, ETH Zurich


How the massive black holes in the centers of most galaxies first formed, grew, and interacted with their host galaxies are among the key outstanding questions in astrophysics. I will outline how the latest ground and space telescopes get us closer to the first black hole seeds and discuss a new framework for how the galaxy black hole system as a whole operates. Building on the last decade of discovery in galaxy evolution, we are now able to ask the right questions that will ultimately lead us to the physics of how growing black holes -- quasars -- regulate and shut down the star formation in galaxies. I will outline how current and near-future facilities such as Keck, ALMA and JWST will answer these questions. I will also consider how citizen scientists, members of the public, can contribute to discovery and understanding, and how we are on the cusp of merging the collective intelligence of humans with that of machines.