University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext 32215
Fax: (519) 746-8115
Professor of Astronomy
Department of Astronomy
University of California, Berkeley
Dr. Ma's primary research interests are in theoretical cosmology and astrophysics. Among the topics she has studied include the properties of dark matter and dark energy, the cosmic microwave background, gravitational lensing, galaxy formation and evolution, supermassive black holes, and the large-scale structure of the universe. She has also enjoyed collaborations with observers in studying properties of galaxies using telescopes at Palomar and Keck.
For over three decades, the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 in the Virgo Cluster has hosted the most massive known black hole in the local universe. New observational data and improved stellar orbit models in the past several years have substantially expanded and revised dynamical measurements of black hole masses at the centers of nearby galaxies. I will describe recent progress in discovering black holes up to twenty billion solar masses in ongoing surveys of massive elliptical galaxies. I will discuss the implications of this new population of ultra-massive black holes, including its impact on our understanding of the symbiotic relationships between black holes and galaxies, and on the gravitational waves signals from merging supermassive black hole binaries targeted by ongoing pulsar timing array experiments.
All are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be provided in PHY 308 at 3:30 p.m.