Symposium S1  3-4 July 2024

Unveiling Black Hole Growth across Cosmic Time in the JWST and LISA era

Aims and scope

Over the past two decades, observations have established samples of hundreds of luminous quasars, powered by accretion onto massive black holes, in the first billion years of the Universe. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has significantly revised this sample by yielding unexpectedly numerous black holes with masses in the range of a few to a hundred million solar masses, within the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang, posing enormous challenges for black hole and galaxy formation models. On the other side of the redshift ladder, in the nearby Universe, JWST and ALMA are revealing the complex interplay of black hole accretion with their circumnuclear and galactic environment. Additionally, current and upcoming novel observations of stars torn apart by black holes? tides (a.k.a. Tidal Disruption Events, TDEs) by ZTF (Zwicky Transient Factory), the VRO/LSST and ULTRASAT hold promise to shedding light on the formation of massive black holes by uniquely expanding our knowledge of the scarcely populated low-mass end (less than one million solar masses) of the black hole mass function. Finally, massive black hole binaries (MBHBs) are sources of the gravitational waves (GWs) and naturally explain the stochastic GW background recently discovered by Pulsar Timing Arrays (PTAs). They will be detected by the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) over the next decades, promising to directly reveal massive black holes with masses between 10 thousand and 10 million solar masses, virtually anywhere in the Universe.

Straddling the fields of cosmology, galaxy formation and black hole astrophysics, our symposium aims at bringing together communities working on different tracers of massive black hole formation and evolution, such as AGN, TDEs and MBHBs, both from the theoretical and observational standpoint, exploring and discussing constraints both in the local and distant Universe. The goals of the symposium are to discuss i) how the most recent observations can help establish a coherent picture of early black hole formation and their evolution through cosmic time, assess ii) what big and/or new questions remain open, and iii) how to address them with a combination of new theoretical developments and upcoming data.

By reviewing and discussing the most recent observational results, theoretical models and simulations, the symposium will provide a global perspective of how black hole formation, feeding and feedback happen in galaxies across cosmic time.

Image copyright: European Space Agency - ESA.


This symposium will address the following scientific topics:

  • Formation of black holes in the early universe
  • Cosmic evolution of AGN and black holes
  • Black holes merging and gravitational waves
  • AGN feedback on host galaxies
  • Tidal disruption events
  • Black hole galaxy scaling relations and their implications
There will be six blocks of 90 min. Each block will include a review talk and contributed talks. Blocks 2 and 4 will include a poster session and Blocks 3 and 6 a 30 minutes discussion.

Invited speakers

  • Silvia Bonoli (Donostia International Physics Center)
  • Tiago Costa (Newcastle University)
  • Jenny Greene (Princeton University)
  • Kohei Inayoshi (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Peking University)
  • Nicholas Stone (Racah Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
  • Hannah Übler (Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge)

Scientific organisers

  • Pratika Dayal (Groningen University)
  • Roberto Maiolino (Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge)
  • Cristina Ramos Almeida (Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias)
  • Elena M. Rossi (Leiden University)
  • Françoise Combes (Observatoire de Paris)
  • Xiaohui Fan (University of Arizona)
  • Zoltan Haiman (Columbia University)
  • Nancy A. Levenson (Space Telescope Science Institute)
  • Raffaella Schneider (Sapienza University of Rome)
  • Alberto Sesana (University of Milan Bicocca)
  • Benny Trakhtenbrot (Tel Aviv University)
  • Marta Volonteri (Institute Astrophysique de Paris)
  • Dominika Wylezalek (University of Heidelberg)


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Updated on Tue May 21 11:56:40 CEST 2024