The First Stars, Black Holes, and Galaxies in the Universe

Higgs Centre colloquium

The First Stars, Black Holes, and Galaxies in the Universe

  • Event time: 1:00pm until 2:00pm
  • Event date: 5th June 2020
  • Speaker: John Wise (Georgia Tech)
  • Location: Zoom

Event details


Cosmic structure forms hierarchically through smooth accretion and dark matter halo mergers. As a consequence, all galaxies are the product of the dozens of mergers over billions of years. However, one can ask, "What were the first stars and galaxies in the universe?" I will review the current state-of-the-art simulations of early galaxy formation, starting with the formation of the first stars, which are initially devoid of elements heavier than lithium and are suggested to have a characteristic mass of tens of solar masses. I will then present results from a suite of cosmological radiation hydrodynamics simulations that focus on the transition from the first stars to the first galaxies. Each simulation captures the radiative and chemical feedback from 10,000 first stars, leading to the formation of a 10^7 solar mass galaxy only 500 million years after the Big Bang, which is detectable with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope. I will also highlight how some of the earliest massive black holes form during these early epochs that could be the seeds of supermassive black holes that exist at the centers of all massive galaxies today.

Event resources