University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

PhD Dissertation Defense

Wednesday, June 8, 2022
11:00am – 1:00pm

Storrs Campus

Graduate Student Gloria Fonseca Alvarez, Department of Physics, University of Connecticut

Mapping the Growth of Black Holes: Masses and Spectral Energy Distributions of Quasars”

Supermassive black holes reside at the centers of massive galaxies, yet the processes by which these grow are not fully understood. This has been limited by the availability of accurate measurements of black hole (BH) mass and other fundamental properties for diverse samples across cosmic time. In this dissertation, I investigate BH scaling relations used to estimate mass, and use multi-wavelength SEDs to probe the physical processes that govern the inner environments of supermassive black holes. Time-domain observations of active galactic nuclei (AGN) can be used to measure BH mass through reverberation mapping (RM). RM results have established a tight correlation between the radius of the broad-line region (BLR) and the luminosity of AGN. Recent RM campaigns like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Reverberation Mapping Project (SDSS-RM) show deviations from this correlation that is widely used to estimate mass from single-epoch observations. We find that these deviations are not accounted for by observational biases, but rather depend on the properties of AGN. This can lead to overestimation of BH masses. SDSS-RM has resulted in BH masses for > 100 quasars spanning a wide range of redshifts (0.1 < z < 3). This sample has multi-wavelength coverage from Pan-STARRS, GALEX TDS, WISE and XMM-Newton. We present contemporaneous UV/Optical SEDs for 32 of these quasars and discuss their UV/Optical and X-ray properties. These UV/Optical SEDs, combined with the BH masses from RM, can be used to measure the accretion rates of a large number of quasars.

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Prof. J. Trump

Physics Department (primary), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UConn Master Calendar

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