Astronomy 500: Black Hole Physics (Spring 2006)
Fridays, 12:30 - 1:20, Astronomy #119

Instructor: Nicole Vogt
Contact: 646-6522, nicole [at]
Office hours:   Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:35 - 12:50, Astronomy #203
Texts: Black Holes, White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars: The Physics of Compact Objects,
by Shapiro & Teukolsky
  Gravitation, by Thorne, Misner, & Wheeler

The seminar will focus on a few current astronomical issues related to black holes, rather than on the theoretical physics which motivate their construction. A working knowledge of basic black hole physics will be assumed, but we will not assume that you are greatly conversant with general relativity. Two texts are recommended above, for background reading in black hole physics.

Performance will be judged on the basis of individual seminar presentations, verbal and written work related to the presentations of other students, and (perhaps) a few short homework assignments.

You are responsible for reading the Presentation article(s) each week, and for participating actively in discussion of each paper each week. I emphasize the importance of doing so; it will be critical to maintaining the professional level of our seminar. Hard copies will be provided on request.

Seminar presentations should be created for display with a laptop and projector (speak with Jon Holtzman to guarantee that you have the hardware you need on your presentation day). You may work in PPT, HTML, PDF, or any other common file format. Practice your talk several times before you give it, so that you appear polished and can focus on communicating the science rather than reading the slides.

I recommend reading at least one paper mentioned in the Introduction of your article (to establish context and motivation), and at least one paper mentioned in the Conclusions (to understand the implications of the work). Having done so, be sure to integrate this information into your presentation.

Your presentation should discuss the major conclusions of the papers, and place it in the context of its field. Theoretical papers should be examined for connections to actual data, in the form of testable predictions. What are the extended ramifications, if a particular theory is correct? What are the alternatives, if it is incorrect? For observational papers, it may be appropriate to walk through the observational and analysis techniques in detail. If you disagree with a paper, do not hesitate to criticize it!

As a general rule, show figures in your presentation but avoid including large tables of data (the audience cannot read them quickly, and will be far more interested in your conclusions that in the raw numbers). You may assume that your audience has read the paper once for themselves.

Attendance at seminar is mandatory. Up to one absence may be excused, for (a) a planned trip to a major telescope or to work with collaborators in which you will play a significant role, or (b) an unplanned bout of diphtheria. Discuss case (a) scenarios with me well ahead of time.

Seminar Program
Date     Presenter  Paper
Feb.   3NicoleIntroduction
Feb. 10JamesA Relationship between Nuclear Black Hole Mass and Galaxy Velocity Dispersion
Gebhardt et al. 2000, ApJ, 539, L13-L16
Feb. 17Cat Evidence for a Supermassive Black Hole in the S0 Galaxy NGC 3245
Barth et al. 2001, ApJ, 555, 685-708
Feb. 24JessicaEvidence for a Black Hole from High Rotation Velocities in a sub-parsec Region of NGC4258
Miyoshi et al. 1995, Nature, 373, 127-129
   The Link between Warm Molecular Disks in Maser Nuclei and Star Formation near the Black Hole at the Galactic Center
Milosavljevic & Loeb 2004, ApJ, 604, L45-48
Mar.   3JillianStellar Orbits around the Galactic Center Black Hole
Ghez et al. 2005, ApJ, 620, 744-757
Mar. 10RobertoSpiral Structure in the Circumnuclear Disk at the Center of NGC 4258
Maoz 1995, ApJ, 455, L131-L134
  Dynamical Constraints on Alternatives to Supermassive Black Holes in Galactic Nuclei
Maoz 1998, ApJ, 494, L181-L184
Mar. 17JoeQuasars and Galaxy Formation
Silk & Rees 1998, A&A, 331, L1-L4
  Ultraluminous Starbursts from Supermassive Black Hole-induced Outflows
Silk 2005, MNRAS, 364, 1337-1342
Mar. 31MikeThe Slope of the Black Hole Mass versus Velocity Dispersion Correlation
Tremaine et al. 2002, ApJ, 574, 740-753
Apr.   7AshleyUntangling the Merger History of Massive Black Holes with LISA
Hughes 2002, MNRAS, 331, 805-816
Apr. 10LinghongObservational Evidence for the Co-evolution of Galaxy Mergers, Quasars, and the Blue/Red Galaxy Transition
(note: Monday)Hopkins, Bundy, Hernquist & Ellis 2006, ApJ, submitted
  Black Holes in Galaxy Mergers: Evolution of Quasars
Hopkins et al. 2005, ApJ, 630, 705-715
Apr. 21PaulPresent-Day Growth of Black Holes and Bulges: The Sloan Digital Sky Survey Perspective
Heckman et al. 2004, ApJ, 613, 109-118
Apr. 28DougActive Galactic Nuclei with Candidate Intermediate-Mass Black Holes
Greene & Ho, 2004, ApJ, 610, 722-736