Elena Gallo is working to shed light on the nature of low-luminosity, supermassive black holes in the nearby universe. Using a comprehensive sample of some 200 galaxies from the AMUSE surveys, she plans to fill in much-needed information on their role in galaxy evolution. By looking at black holes with a range of masses, luminosities, and colors in a variety of settings (dense clusters vs. field galaxies), she is hoping to address a number of fundamental questions: What is the luminosity distribution of black holes in nearby galaxies? How do they evolve from high- to low-luminosity? What proportion and types of galaxies have them? How are they affected by galaxy mergers? How do they affect their surroundings? This work complements her ongoing research on jets from nearby stellar-mass black holes.
Gallo published in Nature on the relationship between the energy entering stellar-mass black holes from accretion of gas and the energy flowing out through collimated jets. She demonstrated that energy outflows were comparable to energy inflows, but that much of the outflow was in the form of kinetic energy vs. radiation. This work provided quantitative insight into the nature of black holes’ contribution to local energy budgets.
BS, University of Milan/Italy; PhD, University of Amsterdam/Netherlands; Chandra Fellow, UC/Santa Barbara; Hubble Fellow, MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.
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