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Dr M. Volonteri (1974) has been named professor by special appointment of Black Hole Formation and Growth at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Science. The chair was established on behalf of the Bèta Plus Foundation.

Credits: Fabio Governato Photography

Marta Volonteri’s research focuses on exploring the origin and the evolution of the massive black holes residing in the centre of galaxies in connection to the cosmic evolution of galaxies. She endeavours to connect the physical processes occurring on small scales near the massive black holes to the global processes shaping how the Universe evolved. Her research touches on various aspects, from the formation of the first black holes to their growth through accretion of gas and how the energy produced by accreting black holes affects their host galaxies, to black hole mergers as gravitational wave sources.  

As professor by special appointment, Volonteri will carry out research on the physics of accretion and energy/momentum injection by black holes in collaboration with the renowned experts on discs and jets at the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API). She will also explore the connection between primordial black holes and massive black holes and contribute to the developing field of gravitational wave astrophysics with researchers at Gravitation and Astroparticle Physics Amsterdam (GRAPPA). Volonteri will also teach on the subjects of galaxies and galaxy formation, as well as supervise MSc and PhD projects.

About Marta Volonteri

Volonteri has been senior researcher (directrice de recherche) at the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris since 2012. From 2007 to 2011, she was assistant professor and then associate professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (US). Prior to this, she held postdoctoral positions at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy and at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Volonteri is co-chair of the Astrophysics Working Group for the gravitational wave satellite LISA. 

Volonteri is the recipient of various grants and awards, including an ERC Consolidator Grant, a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant and grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA. She has published extensively in numerous international peer-reviewed journals such as the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical SocietyThe Astrophysical Journal and Astronomy and Astrophysics.