3D Observations of Molecular Gas in Galaxies: From Global Dynamics to Supermassive Black Holes

I will first briefly review the molecular gas content of early-type galaxies. I will show not only that they unexpectedly harbour much cold gas, but also that it is the best tracer of the circular velocity, thus allowing accurate spatially-resolved dynamical mass measurements in galaxies across the Hubble sequence. Second, I will explore the use of molecular gas for studies of the Tully-Fisher (luminosity-rotational velocity) relation of galaxies to high redshifts. I will highlight the work done to establish local (z=0) benchmarks and will discuss the challenges posed by systematic effects when comparing nearby and distant galaxies. Third, I will demonstrate that CO can be used to easily and accurately measure the mass of the supermassive black holes lurking at galaxy centres. I will discuss substantial ongoing efforts to do this and present many spectacular new ALMA measurements, that open the way to literaly hundreds of measurements across the Hubble sequence with a unique method. I will also hint at how the same data allow to study the spatially-resolved properties of giant molecular cloud populations in non-local galaxies for the first time, providing a new tool to understand and contrast the star formation efficiency of galaxies on cloud scale.

Martin Bureau
Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford
Lindemann Fellow and Tutor in Physics at Wadham College
Speaker Introduction: 

Martin Bureau is a self-described galaxy guru, with an interest in anything and everything galactic. He is particularly interested in using observations and theoretical studies of the gas, stars, and dark matter that make up galaxies to constrain their formation and evolution.Martin is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford, and Lindemann Fellow and Tutor in Physics at Wadham College. He has been in Oxford for over a decade, following appointments at Columbia University as a NASA Hubble Fellow and at Leiden University. He obtained his PhD from The Australian National University and is originally from Montreal, Canada.

KIAA-PKU Auditorium
Yingjie Peng
Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm