Monsters in the dark: gas, dust and star formation around supermassive black holes

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: School of Physics and Astronomy


The supermassive black holes that lurk in the hearts of galaxies seem to play a key role in their evolution. Understanding the co-evolution of galaxies and black holes, and how this evolution varies in different types of galaxies, is vital to truly understand these enigmatic objects. This project involves using high-resolution observations to resolve the structure and kinematics of clouds of gas and dust orbiting supermassive black holes in nearby galaxies. The PhD student will join an international team of astronomers, lead from Cardiff, and will use data from the state of the art telescopes (the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array, the IRAM-30m, APEX, and the Hubble Space Telescope). She/he will have the opportunity to use these data to estimate supermassive black hole masses, study the structure of nuclear accretion disks/torii, and/or probe the breakdown of star-formation laws in the regions around black holes.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/P006779/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2024
2423015 Studentship ST/P006779/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Jacob Sean Elford