Ryan Hickox, Dartmouth College

Topic: "The beauty of simplicity: Some insights on galaxy and black hole formation"  (Video)

Abstract: Astronomers now have a general picture for how galaxies and supermasive black hole form over cosmic time. However, these objects exhibit a rich and complex phenomenology that can make it challenging to build a clear physical intuition for how this process works in detail. I will give a brief introduction to galaxy and black hole formation, and show that some important aspects of this process can be explained remarkably well with extremely simple physical scenarios based on the underlying growth of dark matter structures and the characteristic timescales for variability. I will focus on the triggering of powerful starburst galaxies, the evolution of the specific star formation rate in galaxies, and the connection between star formation and the growth of black holes, and will present a simple intuitive pictures for these processes that can help us better understand the more complex relevant physics.