Massive black holes, galaxies and structure formation – connecting physics and astronomy
Rainer Weinberger (CITA)
October 14, 2021
Abstract: In the past decades, computational astrophysics has seen enormous advancement in scope and sophistication. Simulations have become ubiquitous in astronomical research, opening up a new pathway of studying the astrophysics of complex phenomena. In this talk, I will focus on galaxy formation from cosmological initial conditions, discuss the recent developments made in this field and their impact on our understanding of galaxy evolution in general, and the co-evolution of massive black holes and their host galaxies in particular. I will show that while the quality of the simulations have become good enough to allow for a detailed comparison with observations, they are still severely limited by our lack of understanding of feedback processes on small scales. Using the example of feedback from active galactic nuclei, I will show how a combination of cosmological and more idealized simulations can help to overcome this problem and connect to both the fundamental physics and its observational signatures. Finally, I will discuss how a similar approach might be applied to study the growth of massive black holes, and what is required to achieve this in the next years.