Presentation PDFs and videos now available

PDF files of the talks and posters are now available here. If a PDF of your talk or poster is not yet posted (or if you'd like to make changes) please send us the file by email at

Questions raised and input from participants

The wide range of talks, posters, and discussions at the workshop raised a number of exciting and important outstanding questions about the growth of black holes, many of which we plan to address in the review of the workshop to appear in New Astronomy Reviews.

Perspective and insight from participants with regards these questions (or suggestions for additional issues) would be very valuable. You can send us your input by email at, or by filling in our online form.

Thanks for a great workshop!

Thanks to everyone for a wonderfully stimulating and productive week of talks and discussions. We are currently in the process of putting all the talks and posters online, and preparing a review of the science at the workshop. For those participants who have not yet sent us PDF copies of their posters (or any updated/abridged talks) please email us at Click on photo above for a high-resolution version.

Final programme for July workshop now available

The final oral and poster programme and participant list, along with the full abstract book, are now available for the rescheduled workshop in July.

Programme and presentation information

The workshop will be held at the new Calman Learning Centre at Durham University. The workshop received a large number of excellent submissions, such that contributed talks were oversubscribed by a factor of four. The preliminary oral and poster programme for the rescheduled meeting is now available.

Talks will be 17 minutes with 3 minutes for questions. For technical reasons, we need to use a local machine for displaying presentations, so all speakers will be asked to give us their slides in advance of their session in PowerPoint, Keynote, OpenOffice, or PDF format (PDF is recommended if possible).

The poster area will be able to accommodate standard-sized posters (A0 or 36 x 48 inches). Please note that due to limited space, standard-size posters must be orientated vertically.

Accreting black holes in observational and theoretical studies can occupy a very wide range in important parameters such as black hole mass, Eddington ratio, and redshift. One goal of the workshop is to clarify which parts of parameter space are probed by different studies, and identify the key physical processes that drive accretion in different regimes. Click above for a larger version of this diagram.

Workshop overview

This workshop will explore the processes that drive accretion onto supermassive black holes, from the most luminous distant quasars to more quiescent local systems. Currently there are conflicting discussions in the literature over which processes are most important, with different observations or theoretical studies often providing apparently contradictory results, as well as theorists often disagreeing with the observers.

One cause of these disagreements may be that we are exploring systems with a very wide range in black hole mass, Eddington ratio, redshift, and environment (as illustrated by the figure at right). The workshop aims to clarify the ranges of parameter space that are probed by different studies, and help understand how the key physical processes may vary with these parameters.

The workshop will feature an exciting program of both observational and theoretical talks and posters as well as active discussion.

The main questions to be addressed will be:

1. How does gas accrete onto black holes, from ~kpc scales to < 1 pc scales?

2. What are the links between black-hole growth and their host galaxies and large-scale environments?

3. What fuels the rapid growth of the most massive (and also the first) black holes?

4. What is the detailed nature of AGN feedback and its effects on black hole fueling and star formation?

Registration fee and accommodation

A registration fee of £225 will cover the four days of the workshop, including lunches and the workshop banquet in Durham Castle. Affordable ensuite accommodation at the University has been reserved and is recommended for the workshop.

Workshop rescheduled to 26-29 July 2010

Updated 16 April 2010, 2:45pm

Owing to the volcanic eruption in Iceland that has created widespread disruption in participants' travel to the workshop, the meeting has been rescheduled for 26-29 July 2010. We intend for the programme and schedule to be as similar as possible, and hope that all participants will be able to come. Please let us know by email at if you can attend the workshop in July.

For more details on travel disruptions and the rescheduling of the workshop please click here.

What Drives the Growth of Black Holes?
Durham University
26 - 29 July 2010

Scientific Organising Committee
D. Alexander
R. Hickox
P. Best
R. Davies
T. di Matteo
A. Fabian
J. Greene
M. Volonteri

Local Organising Committee
L. Borrero
K. Coppin
A. Danielson
J. Geach
A. Goulding
J. Mullaney

Last Updated: 6 June 2011

Banner Image: courtesy of NASA