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Evenings with Astronomers: Black Holes, Galaxies and the Evolution of the Universe

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Black holes form in the young Universe and, over the next 13 billion years or so, accrete enormous amounts of matter from the surrounding galaxy. By the present time, a black hole and its host galaxy have grown in mass by factors of a million or more, roughly in lockstep. In this talk, Yale University's Meg Urry will first give several alternative descriptions of what a black hole is, then explain how recent multiwavelength surveys have allowed astronomers to take a census of black hole growth across cosmic time. Urry will conclude with the big picture: the evolution of the universe over the last 13 billion years, as indicated by computer simulations, and future prospects for observing black hole growth and mergers across the cosmos.