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Space Telescope Science Institute

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March 30 - April 1, 2009
Space Telescope Science Institute
Baltimore, Maryland USA

Motivated by recent advances in numerical relativity and with an eye towards the future of gravitational wave observatories, we were pleased to announce a conference on the observational signatures of supermassive black hole mergers, including electromagnetic signals detectable today. The primary goal of this meeting was to bring together theorists and observers from a number of different fields and to foster the communication that is critical for moving forward in actually detecting and characterizing the properties of merging black holes over a wide range of time-scales. To this end, the conference was structured around a relatively small number of plenary sessions with a large amount of time dedicated for discussion.


  • Black Holes in Galaxy Mergers and Evolution
  • Black Hole Merger Mechanisms ("The Final Parsec Problem")
  • Gravitational Waves
  • Electromagnetic Counterparts
  • Gravitational Recoil
  • Imprint on Galaxy Structure
  • Spin as a Probe of Black Hole Evolution
  • Next-generation Observatories

Scientific Organizing Committee

  • Joan Centrella, NASA-Goddard (Co-Chair)
  • Mike Fall, STScI
  • Anton Koekemoer, STScI
  • Julian Krolik, Johns Hopkins
  • Mario Livio, STScI
  • Cole Miller, U. Maryland
  • Tom Prince, Caltech
  • Jeremy Schnittman, Johns Hopkins (Co-Chair)
  • Rachel Somerville, STScI
  • Tuck Stebbins, NASA-Goddard
  • Roeland van der Marel, STScI