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Supermassive black holes and cosmic structure formation

Debora Sijacki, IoA

I will present a numerical model for black hole growth and its associated feedback processes that for the first time allows cosmological simulations of structure formation to simultaneously follow the build up of the cosmic population of galaxies and active galactic nuclei. The model permits to explore cosmological growth of black holes - from the first quasars formed at redshifts greater than 6, to the underluminous supermassive black holes in the centres of massive ellipticals and clusters today. The black holes significantly influence the evolution of their host galaxies, changing their star formation history, their amount of cold gas, their colours and metallicity distribution. Thus, AGN feedback effects are bringing the properties of simulated galaxies and clusters into much better agreement with observations.