New Puzzles in Supermassive Black Hole Evolution

Charles Steinhardt
IPMU, University of Tokyo


The standard model of cosmology has been remarkably successful in explaining the detailed evolution of galaxies and large-scale structure beginning from primordial density perturbations.  Supermassive black holes, however, seem to present a more difficult challenge.  The standard cosmological model, as currently understood, cannot explain how supermassive black holes are born, how they grow, and why or how they die.  This talk will present a novel approach for analyzing data from  quasar surveys that reveals new information about the luminosity and evolution of black holes. Instead of resolving these problems, the results suggest even deeper puzzles that may require new ideas in astrophysics or fundamental physics to resolve.