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Physics and Astronomy Colloquium – Brooke Simmons
February 8 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
UNC-CH Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
Brooke Simmons, University of California, San Diego
“Illuminating the Growth of Galaxies and Supermassive Black Holes”
Galaxy growth and evolution may be broadly categorized as either driven by galaxy-galaxy collisions/mergers, or merger-free. Merger-free processes are crucial to galaxy evolution, yet many fundamental open questions remain: how does galaxy star formation halt without a disruptive merger? How do central “supermassive” black holes grow in galaxies without mergers? How do these questions impact each other? This talk will review the field of merger-free galaxy and black hole evolution from 0 < z < 3 and discuss the relative importance of both mergers and completely calm, “secular” evolution on galaxy and black hole growth. New evidence from recent cosmological simulations suggests merger-free process contribute significantly to both the overall growth of supermassive black holes and their co-evolution with their host galaxies, and a new Hubble Space Telescope survey is designed to answer these questions about merger-free evolution, in preparation for the next generation of telescopes and surveys. These results are made possible by the contributions of hundreds of thousands of members of the public in Galaxy Zoo; this talk will discuss the future of these citizen science endeavors.