In the realm of black holes: RIT scientist explores the centers of galaxies

Princeton University Press publishes David Merritt’s text for researchers and students

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Supermassive black holes don’t appear out of thin air. They evolve deep within galaxies like the Milky Way.

Understanding galactic nuclei—or the centers of galaxies—is the lifework of astrophysicist David Merritt, whose research investigates the evolution of galaxies and the energetic activity that arises from the center—quasars, stellar tidal disruptions and massive impacts that generate gravitational waves.

In Dynamics and Evolution of Galactic Nuclei, published by Princeton University Press, the Rochester Institute of Technology professor and world-renowned expert on supermassive black holes summarizes 30 years of theoretical research on galactic nuclei, the formation of massive black holes and the interaction between black holes and stars.

“Galactic nuclei are objects of intense interest to physicists and astrophysicists, both because they contain supermassive black holes, which are the power source behind quasars, and also because they are regions of the highest density of stars,” says Merritt, professor in RIT’s School of Physics and Astronomy. “There has long been a need for a research-level monograph covering this important field.”

Dynamics and Evolution of Galactic Nuclei is a resource for researchers and graduate students. The comprehensive textbook introduces dynamical processes occurring near supermassive black holes. It also includes a summary of the current literature and previously unpublished work by the author.