Colloquium by Xiaohui Fan, University of Arizona
High-redshift quasars provide direct probes to the formation of the earliest supermassive black holes, their connections to early galaxy formation, and the history of cosmic reionization. More than 200 quasars have now been discovered in the first billion years of the cosmic history, with the highest redshift currently at z=7.6, indicating that billion solar mass black holes have already fully formed merely half billion years after the first star formation in the universe. I will (1) review the current state of high-redshift quasar surveys and discoveries, as a result of the new generations of wide-field sky surveys and developments in data mining and machine learning; (2) discuss using high-redshift quasars as probes to the history of supermassive black hole growth in the early universe, using measurements of quasar luminosity function and black hole masses; (3) present the latest observations of the the co-evolution of early SMBH growth and galaxy formation, and the roles quasar played in early galaxy formation and structure formation; and (4) review the progress of using IGM absorption in quasar sightlines and properties of quasar proximity zones, which is unveiling a rapid and highly inhomogeneous reionization process at z~5.5 - 7.5. In particular, I will highlight new results from early JWST observations on early supermassive black hole growth, the environment of early quasars and the IGM and galaxy connection.
Followed by wine and cheese.
Host: David Helfand