Massive black holes reside at the center of most nearby galaxies. They have masses from less than 100 000 to more than a billion solar masses, and this mass is about 1/1000 of the stellar mass of the host galaxies. Massive black holes are also the central engine that powers quasars and active galactic nuclei, which are the
most energetic stable sources in the Universe. Quasars and active galactic nuclei allow us to trace when and how massive black holes have grown in mass by swallowing gas, and sometimes stars, supplied by the galaxy they live in.
The team develops theoretical models of the formation of massive black hole « seeds » in the first galaxies, of the growth of these seeds over the cosmic history, along with the galaxies hosting them. The dynamics of massive black holes is also studied to predict their merger rate in the gravitational wave domain. For these studies, both analytical, semi-analytical models and numerical simulations are used.
Permanent members : Jean-Pierre Lasota, Marta Volonteri