Exploring the Connection Between Galaxies and Their Central Black Holes

In the past decade it has become increasingly clear that the cosmic evolution of galaxies is linked to the growth of their central supermassive black holes, but the nature of this connection remains poorly understood. We are using various techniques, including groundbreaking far-infrared observations from the Herschel Space Observatory, to measure the rate at which galaxies form stars, and connect this to measures of black hole accretion from Chandra X-ray Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope X-ray and mid-infrared observations as well as optical data, to explore whether stars and black holes grow from a common supply of cold gas, or whether the two processes have separate triggering mechanisms.