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Active Galactic Nuclei: the powerful cores of the most luminous galaxies

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Oliver Normand.

Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) sit at the centres of most, maybe all, galaxies and many have hot gas swirling around them. In an active galactic nucleus (AGN), the gas spiralling towards the SMBH emits extreme amounts of radiation and they are so bright that we can observe AGNs back to a time when the Universe was only 700 million years old. Computer simulations of galaxy formation have suggested that we need AGNs to explain the massive galaxies that we see in our Universe today but the structure of the AGNs and how exactly they affect the galaxies that host them are still up for debate. For example, winds emanating from some AGNs could expel gas from their host galaxies that would otherwise be used to form stars. I will discuss some of the open questions surrounding AGNs before I share my research on the brightest of these objects, quasars, and my efforts to explain some of the observations that have been made since their discovery in the 1960s. The talk will be followed by refreshments outside the lecture theatre.

The talk will be at the usual location of Wolfson lecture theatre in the Department of Chemistry. The entrance is the opposite side of the building to Bristol-Myers-Squibb Lecture theatre and is opposite the car park- shown by the red arrow on the map. https://map.cam.ac.uk/Department+of+Chemistry#52.197964,0.125242,18

Tickets are £2 or free for members. Annual membership (£7) and life membership (£12) can also be purchased at the event – please bring cash. The talk will be followed by refreshments outside the lecture theatre.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Astronomical Society (CUAS) series.

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