Astronomy Colloquium for 2024-02-21

Series: Astronomy Colloquium
Date: Wednesday 21-Feb-2024
Time: 16:05-17:00 (4:05-5:00 pm)
Location: ATL 2400
Speaker: Dr. Feige Wang (University of Arizona)
Title: Growing Early Supermassive Black Holes in a Cosmological Context

The existence of luminous quasars, powered by supermassive black holes (SMBHs) when the Universe was less than 800 million years old, challenges our understanding of SMBH formation. In the hierarchical structure formation ontext, an assortment of cosmological simulations can produce these massive SMBHs, starting with massive seeds and growing within the most biased dark matter halos situated in overdense regions. However, rigorously testing these theories remains challenging. To address this, I developed the ASPIRE program, which provides a legacy galaxy redshift survey along the line-of-sights of distant quasars with JWST slitless spectroscopic and ALMA mosaic observations. This program also involves Chandra, HST, VLA, and ground-based optical and infrared follow-up observations. In this talk, I will demonstrate our ability to finally resolve the long-standing question of whether the earliest supermassive black holes (SMBHs) reside in the most massive dark matter halos and to probe early SMBH growth in a cosmological context using ASPIRE data. Additionally, I will highlight ASPIRE as a treasury program for understanding cosmic reionization, galaxy formation, and metal enrichment in the early Universe. Finally, I will illustrate that we are entering an exciting new era in our understanding of the formation of SMBHs and galaxies in the early Universe, leveraging the unprecedented sensitivity of JWST and upcoming state-of-the-art facilities such as AXIS, Roman, Rubin, and extremely large telescopes.

In-person colloquia are usually preceded by espresso and ice cream at 1:45 pm outside room PSC 1150 and are followed by an informal reception at 5:15 pm in that room. Anyone interested in talking with the speaker, or being added to the colloquium announcement email list, should contact the colloquium organizer Dr. Leslie Sage. Lunch will normally be reserved for the speaker to talk to graduate students. Anyone asking a question during a talk is asked to raise their hand and be acknowledged before speaking. Contact Dr. Leslie Sage for details.

Colloquium Organizer: Dr. Leslie Sage


Special accommodations for individuals with disabilities can be made by calling (301) 405-3001. It would be appreciated if we are notified at least one week in advance.


Directions and information about parking can be found here.

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