University of Florida
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) are of great interest both as critical components in galaxy evolution and as the dominant sources of low-frequency gravitational waves (GWs). The detection of such GWs with pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) may be imminent, and in the coming years, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) could detect SMBH merger events. I will discuss recent work using galactic- to cosmological-scale hydrodynamics simulations to quantify the role of galaxy mergers in SMBH fueling. I will also describe recent progress in constraining the dynamics and multi-messenger signatures of BH pairs, binaries, and GW recoils, utilizing results from simulations coupled with SMBH binary inspiral and spin evolution models. Electromagnetic detections of such systems in the coming years will be crucial counterparts for the likely imminent detection of GWs by pulsar timing arrays, and they will provide key constraints on LISA event rates. I will conclude by mentioning some ongoing work to constrain the formation of SMBH "seeds" in the early Universe, which will be key for understanding the LISA source population.