Topic: "The Monster's Fiery Breath: Supermassive Black Holes at the Centers of Distant Galaxies" (Video)
Abstract: Most, if not all, galaxies, including our own Milky Way, are host to a supermassive black hole (SMBH) at their center. Since the discovery of a tight empirical correlation between SMBH mass and host galaxy bulge mass, mounting observational evidence and advances in cosmological simulations suggest a link between galaxy evolution and central black hole growth. However, advances in this field are stymied by disagreement over accuracy of selection methods for accreting SMBHs and applicability of these selection methods to more distant galaxies. In this talk, I will discuss our resolution of the long-standing question with regards to the nature of BPT-composites and our new method for identifying distant active galactic nuclei (AGN). I will also present our recent results using the rare population of post-starburst galaxies as a probe to understanding the role of mergers and AGN in galaxy evolution.