Dr Dan Whalen presents “The Origin of the First Supermassive Black Holes in the Universe” for the Winchester Cafe Scientiqiue
Most massive galaxies in the universe today harbor supermassive black holes (SMBHs), with masses from a few million to tens of billions of solar masses. But very bright quasars powered by billion solar mass BHs have now been discovered at redshift z ~ 7, or just 775 million years after the Big Bang. They pose serious challenges to current theories of cosmological structure formation because it is not known how BHs this massive appeared by such early epochs. I will discuss the possible origins of the first quasars and present new supercomputer simulations of how they could form in the first billion years of the universe.
Dan’s biography: PhD University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign 2006 Research Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) 2006 – 2009 McWilliams Fellow in Cosmology, Carnegie Mellon University 2009 – 2012 Research Scientist, LANL 2012 – 2014 Deputy Group Leader, Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, Univ of Heidelberg 2014 – 2016 Senior Lecturer, Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth 2016