Accretion Signatures of the Earliest Black Holes in the Universe

| Scientific Rationale | Important Dates | Registration | SOC | Participants | Venue | Travel | Contact |

Scientific Rationale
One of the major outstanding issues in modern astrophysics is how initial black hole seeds in the early universe came to be formed, and consequently, how they grew into the typical present-day massive black holes that now reside at galaxy centers. 

Our current intuition on the birth and early evolution of massive black holes is set by two extreme regimes: (1) from the intensely rapid growth of billion solar mass black holes that were active only a gigayear after the Big Bang, or (2) from accretion measurements of the smallest nuclear black holes found in the most nearby dwarf galaxies. But even the applicability of both these sets of black holes to infer the properties of those growing at Cosmic dawn is still highly debated within the astronomical community.

black hole seeding

This 3-day workshop aims to bring together theoreticians, observers and computational astrophysicists to discuss our current understanding and interpretation of accretion mechanisms for 1,000--1,000,000 solar mass black holes, their expected properties at the dawn of the Universe, and the connections between black hole seeds and the low-mass black holes residing in present-day dwarf galaxies and globular clusters. Such a conversation is particularly pertinent as the direct observable signatures of the first growing black hole seeds will finally be at our fingertips with the imminent launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2021, with additional foresight of relevant future missions such as the Wide-field Infrared Survey Telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the next generation VLA, and the Lynx X-ray Surveyor.

During the meeting we expect to address the following topics:

  •  What are the radiative signatures of accretion for intermediate black holes and black holes seeds?
  •  Do the dynamics and environments impact the growth of intermediate black holes and black holes seeds?
  •  What are the physical processes and properties relating to variability in low mass black holes?
  •  What are the predictions and potential observations that can be made of black hole seeds at Cosmic dawn?

The workshop is part of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Sciences (PCTS) 2019 Workshop Program Series, and is being held in conjunction with PCTS and the Princeton Gravity Initiative, which is a collaborative effort between Princeton's Departments of Astrophysics, Physics and Mathematics. 

Important Dates

  • December 1, 2018 -- First Announcement
  • March 15, 2019 -- Registration Deadline
  • April 3-5, 2019 -- Meeting

The workshop is limited to 70 participants, and attendance will be on a first-come first-served basis. There will also be no registration fee to attend the meeting.  Please register for the meeting at this: link 

Scientific Organizing Committee
Andy Goulding (Princeton, Chair)
Jenny Greene (Princeton, co-Chair)
James Stone (Princeton)
Shane Davis (Virginia)
Frans Pretorius (Princeton, Gravity Initiative Chair)
Amy Reines (Montana)
Rachel Somerville (Rutgers; Flatiron Institute)

Confirmed Participants
Daniel Angles-Alcazar (Flatiron Institute)
Vivienne Baldassare (Yale)
Aaron Barth (UC Irvine)
Jillian Bellovary (AMNH)
Laura Blecha (Florida)
Neven Caplar (Princeton)
Nico Cappelluti (Miami)
Jane Dai (Niels Bohr Institute)
Chris Done (Durham)
Will Farr (Stony Brook)
Elena Gallo (Michigan)
Suvi Gezari (Maryland)
Melanie Habouzit (Flatiron Institute)
Zoltan Haiman (Columbia)
Kevin Hainline (Steward)
Ryan Hickox (Dartmouth)
Luis Ho (Kavli Institute Peking)
Kelly Holley-Bockelmann (Vanderbilt)
Yan-Fei Jiang (UCSB)
Jarrett Johnson (Los Alamos Labs)
Chiara Mingarelli (Flatiron Institute)
Priya Natarajan (Yale)
Nadine Neumayer (MPIA)
Ken Ohsuga (Tsukuba)
Jerry Ostriker (Princeton)
Almudena Prieto (Astrophysical Institute of the Canaries)
Daniel Proga (UNLV)
Johan Samsing (Princeton)
Yue Shen (Illinois)
Michael Strauss (Princeton)
Scott Tremaine (IAS)
Marta Volonteri (IAP)
Natalie Webb (IRAP-Toulouse)
Joan Wrobel (NRAO)

Meeting Venue
The meeting will take place in the Princeton Center for Theoretical Sciences, Jadwin Hall, Princeton, which is a short 10-15 minute walk from the Nassau Inn Hotel in Palmer Square, Princeton. Click here to see map.

Directions to Nassau Hall

Travel Information
For information on the Princeton campus, and travel to the Princeton area please see
For those participants who will be flying to the New Jersey / New York area, we highly recommend Newark International as there is a direct train that runs between the airport and Princeton Junction, which will greatly reduce your travel time.

Contact Information
For questions and more information about this upcoming meeting, please contact goulding "[at]" astro[dot]princeton[dot]edu.