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I'm organizing an upcoming conference, The First Galaxies, Quasars, and Gamma-Ray Bursts, to be held at Penn State June 6-10, 2010.

Black holes in the news


  • July 2008: I was awarded an NSF grant ( AST-0807312, ~$200K) for a collaborative proposal with Dr. Tom Abel to study the first galaxies and quasars, and the epoch of reionization.
  • December 2008: I am a co-I of a big Spitzer Warm Mission proposal "Spitzer Extended Deep Survey" granted by NASA (ES 60022, PI Giovanni Fazio) to study galaxy assembly at different redshifts.

Movie for the Discovery Channel

quasar formation
Formation of a luminous quasar at z~6.5 through hierarchical galaxy mergers in the early Universe.

September 2008: I provided a spectacular movie of the birth of a luminous quasar at redshift z~6.5 for the Discovery Channel in the program of "Cosmic Collisions". The images are projected densities of gas and stars. The gas is color-coded by temperature (blue indicates cold, yellow indicates hot, tenuous gas), the stars are color-coded by specific star formation rate (blue indicates active star forming). The artistic rays of the black holes (whose strength is proportional to the BH bolometric luminosity) indicate the accretion activity. This movie shows the formation of a luminous quasar at z~6.5 in the LCDM cosmology. It forms in a massive halo, and grows through hierarchical mergers of gas-rich galaxy progenitors. (Credit: Li et al. 2007, ApJ 665, 187)