IAU Symposia

IAUS 324: New Frontiers in Black Hole Astrophysics

Start date/time

September 12, 2016

End date/time

September 16, 2016


Slovenia, the Republic of


Andreja Gomboc

Event website


Coordinating Division

Division D High Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics

Co-Chairs of SOC: Prof. Andreja Gomboc (University of Nova Gorica)
Prof. Carole Mundell (University of Bath)
Chair of LOC: Prof. Andreja Gomboc (University of Nova Gorica)



(1) Similarity and Diversity of Black Hole Systems - 
Theoretical frameworks
Observational signatures

(2) The Physics of Gamma Ray Bursts - 
Nature of the central engine and the relativistic outflow
Particle acceleration, jet collimation and radiation mechanisms
Observational and theoretical advances in understanding the role of magnetic fields 
Gamma Ray Bursts as probes of elementary particle physics

(3) Tidal Disruption Events - 
Modelling and theoretical predictions for different phases of the disruption event (disruption, jet production, fall-back)
Observational signatures in different wavelength regimes
Stellar dynamics in galactic centres, relativistic simulations and rates of Tidal Disruption Events
Observations of Tidal Disruption Events in the era of all-sky surveys

(4) Active Galactic Nuclei - 
Theoretical and observational frameworks for:
- radio loud/quiet dichotomy and duty cycles
- jet physics in the most energetic sources including physics of flaring
- role and properties of magnetic fields 
A look to the future with TeV observations and other techniques

(5) Tests of Fundamental Theories of Physics - 
Black hole systems as multi-messenger sources:
- Modelling and theoretical predictions for production of neutrinos and gravitational waves
- Observational frontiers
Constraints on quantum gravity - observational and theoretical prospects
Signatures of exotic particles such as axions

(6) Technology Drivers and Future Capabilities
New observational facilities, instruments and techniques
New theoretical, numerical and computational innovation



A key unsolved issue in modern astrophysics is how black holes accrete matter and subsequently launch focused jets of material to speeds close to that of light, releasing copious energy in the process. This occurs over many orders of magnitude in mass, size and timescale in a wide range of astrophysical objects but the mechanisms converting gravitational potential energy into radiated energy remain poorly understood. These systems also provide unique laboratories for the study of physics in extreme conditions such as strong gravity, large magnetic fields, ultra-relativistic particle acceleration and, as such, may also provide valuable probes of space-time and tests of fundamental physics.

The goal of this symposium is to bring together observational and theoretical experts in the astrophysics of black-hole driven systems to discuss the current state-of-the-art in accretion, jet formation and acceleration and emission mechanisms - and more generally source physics, with theoretical physicists who aim to use astrophysical objects to test current theories of gravity and ultimately unified theories of quantum gravity.

This symposium is timely both scientifically and in terms of upcoming technology whose advances across the electromagnetic spectrum and beyond to multimessenger signature such as gravitational waves and neutrinos are coming of age. By 2016, the new generation of gravitational wave detectors will be operational, improved sensitivity in neutrino detectors will be available, the multiwavelength community will have an impressive suite of ground- and space-based facilities covering a wide range of energy bands and timescales, and the theoretical astrophysics communities will be providing new testable predictions from advances in hydrodynamic, magnetohydrodynamic and plasma cell-based simulations.

Leading up to major new facilities such as the Cherenkov Telescope Array, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Square Kilometre Array coming on line from 2018 onwards, this symposium will provide a stimulating environment for a new generation of astrophysicists to connect with, learn from and present their work to a unique and diverse combination of world-leading astrophysicists and physicists with a common interest in black holes and their applications.

More broadly, black holes hold much appeal for the lay audience; building on the University of Ljubljana's expertise and Prof. Gomboc's leadership in public outreach in Slovenia since the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and in organising the National Astronomical Competition for Schools, the organisers will maximise the exposure of the symposium science to the general public directly and through the popular press, as well as to the Slovenian parliament, and through the Teachers Workshop.


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