Supermassive Black Holes: Impact on Galaxy Formation and Evolution

Supermassive black holes, weighing between millions to billions times the mass of the Sun, are believed to power quasars and other energetic activity in the centers of galaxies.  With the help of advanced telescopes from the ground and in space, operating across the electromagnetic spectrum, astronomers have now discovered that supermassive black holes not only exist, but that they are very common and play a critical role in the formation and evolution of galaxies in the Universe.  A class of intermediate-mass black holes has also been found.  These "seeds" help us understand the formation and growth of supermassive black holes and the origin of quasars in the early Universe.  Mergers of seed black holes will provide an important source of gravitational wave radiation that can be detected with upcoming experiments.  I describe these recent discoveries, which are among the most important developments in astronomy and astrophysics during the past 20 years.

02/03/2017 - 12:00
Prof. Luis Ho
Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University