The Physics Department under the College of Science at the United Arab Emirates University performed a study on the formation of the first supermassive black holes in the Universe, entitled “Turbulent cold flows gave birth to the first quasars” that has been published in Nature scientific magazine.
Dr. Muhammad Abdul Latif from the Department of Physics led a distinguished and diverse team of astrophysicists from the UAE, UK, and Canada in resolving this two-decade-old mystery of how the first super-bright, hyperactive quasars reached this massive size inside supermassive black holes within a short period of the early universe. “This discovery is particularly exciting because astrophysicists have been grappling for years on how the first supermassive black holes were conceived,” he said.
The discovery uncovered a cosmic enigma that has been puzzling scientists for the past twenty years– how come the first quasars which are extremely luminous and actively accreting supermassive black holes in the early universe have become so big early on? “Our study shows that the first supermassive black holes were born in rare, turbulent reservoirs of gas in the early universe without the need for finely-tuned, exotic environments, contrary to what had been previously believed”. In fact, the environments hosting gigantic black holes created 30,000-40,000 solar mass supermassive stars. These stars were enormous, short-lived, and primitive, a bit like dinosaurs on earth, and collapsed into black holes within in a few million years” Dr. Latif mentioned.
“Our novel findings not only explain the origin of the first quasars but also their demographics – their numbers at early times. Therefore, we believe that the first supermassive black holes were the outgrowth of the cosmic web and a natural consequence of the basic structure formation of cold dark matter in cosmology and physics,” he said.
The originality and innovative nature of these findings open a multitude of possibilities that may help scientists understand the evolution of the Universe. This demonstrates the University’s ambition to contribute to cutting-edge scientific discoveries and studies apart from participating in multiple space research and exploration programs.