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The Formation and Growth of the First Black Holes A Whitepaper for the 2010 Decadal Survey Science Frontier Panel Galaxies across Cosmic Time GCT Authors Bret Lehmer Durham University Niel Brandt Penn State University Dave Alexander Durham University Roger Brissenden Smithsonian Astrophysical Obsevatory Martin Elvis Smithsonian Astrophysical Obsevatory Ann Hornschemeier Goddard Space Flight Center Dan Schwartz Smithsonian Astrophysical Obsevatory the Generation X Team Contact Person Bret Lehmer Department of Physics Durham University South Road Durham DH1 3LE UK Email b d lehmer dur ac uk Telephone 44 191 334 3773 1 1 Introduction The path of observational cosmology over the next decade will be focused on the exploration of the early Universe To determine how the phenomena i e galaxies stars planets etc of our local Universe evolved to their present state we must determine how and when the first stars galaxies and black holes formed In the next decade observatories such as JWST ALMA LSST TMT GMT and E ELT will provide a phenomenal new perspective on this theme allowing for the first time in history a direct view of the starlight that originates from the first galaxies a regime that is only now understood by theoretical inferences However it is now clear that galaxy and black hole growth are intimately tied and therefore knowledge of black hole formation and growth is required to piece together a complete picture of galaxy formation Specifically we will need observational facilities designed to address the following questions How and when did the first black holes in the Universe form and grow What influence did the energetic process of accretion onto the first black holes have on the formation and evolution of their host galaxies and in reionizing the Universe Addressing these questions requires sensitive X ray observations which effectively probe the nearby vicinity of the accreting black holes even through heavily obscured environments The next great X ray

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