A Universe of Black Holes

Coordinators: Tamara Bogdanovic, Elena Gallo, Lucio Mayer, Marta Volonteri

Scientific Advisors: John Baker, Mitch Begelman, Cole Miller

The focus of this program will be the physics of massive black holes and their link to the cosmic evolution of structure. In the last several years it has become clear that black holes and their mergers are not just tracers of early and recent structure formation, but that they seem to have actively influenced galaxies and clusters through feedback mechanisms that are not currently well understood. A multitude of observational and theoretical developments expected in the next few years makes this a timely forum for the discussion of many issues that are at the forefront of astrophysics, fundamental gravitational physics, and cosmology.

The goal of the program is to foster integration between theorists and observers in the electromagnetic and gravitational wave domain, to provide a common focal point for researchers investigating galaxy formation and those working at the scales of accretion discs, as well as create a stronger link between groups studying the newtonian and relativistic phases in the evolution of massive black hole binaries.

The focus of the program will be on the following three topics:

  • Formation of seed black holes in the first galaxies
  • Accretion onto black holes and feedback on their environments
  • Massive black hole mergers in galaxies

There will be an associated conference Massive Black Holes: Birth, Growth and Impact to be held August 5—9, 2013. Those interested in attending the week-long conference only should apply separately for that event.