Marin Science Seminar Presentation: "Snacking, Gorging, and Cannibalizing: The Feeding Habits of Black Holes" (March 11, 2015) Get the flyer here.
A new generation of telescopes is coming online, with the capability to tell us about how black holes grow: by cannibalizing each other in stupendous mergers that shake the very fabric of space-time; by swallowing huge volumes of ten million degree gas; and by shredding and consuming stars that happen to pass too close. Observations of these processes are helping to transform our understanding of the growth of the enormous black holes that lurk at the heart of almost all galaxies.
Steve Croft studies black holes using a wide range of telescopes, including Hubble, the Shane Telescope at Lick Observatory, Keck, and most recently the Murchison Widefield Array in the remote Western Australian outback. He grew up in England, where he received a PhD in astrophysics from Oxford University in 2002, before moving to California to work as a postdoctoral researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Since 2007 Steve has been a researcher in the Astronomy Department at UC Berkeley, and is also involved in outreach and informal education, including the NASA NOVAS program (http://nasanovas.org).