Welcome to Kevin Schawinski’s Galaxy and Black Hole Astrophysics Research Group Webpage

Group leader:
Prof. Dr. Schawinski
HIT J 23.7
+4144633 0751 T
Esther Christen
HIT J 13.2
+4144633 7608 T

We use observations from ground- and space-based observatories to understand and quantify the role of growing black holes in the formation and evolution of galaxies.

The group is working on understanding the co-evolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes; how, when and why do accreting black holes at the centers of galaxies regulate the evolution of their host galaxies and alter their evolutionary trajectories? Growing black holes can be the most luminous objects in the universe liberating energy in a variety of forms that can be observed and analyzed using multi-wavelength observations.

Artist impression of a very young galaxy, which may be hosting a recently-formed black hole at its center, located in the early universe less than one billion years after the Big Bang. (Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss) Galaxy IC 2497 and the ionised gas cloud known as “Hanny’s Voorwerp” (green). (Credit: NASA/W. Keel)

Deep Extragalactic Surveys

We use deep imaging and spectroscopic data from a broad range of state-of-the-art telescopes to analyze galaxies and growing black holes in the early universe - during the peak of activity - to try and understand the impact of growth phases on galaxies. Using morphological classification and stellar population tracers, we aim to understand the evolutionary pathways that build the galaxy and black hole population we see today.

Understanding Black Hole Feedback

How exactly do black holes affect their environment? We are taking new approaches to understanding how different accretion states of black holes may contribute to “feedback” as black holes switch between these states. We are also considering whether and how X-ray binaries - dead stellar-mass black holes orbiting a companion star - have an effect on galaxies, especially the first galaxies at very high redshift.

The First Black Holes

The origin of the supermassive black holes that live at the centers of galaxies remains unknown; possibilities include black holes formed in the deaths of the first generation of stars (population III stars) and the direct collapse of primordial gas clouds. We are hunting for the first black holes the universe produced in proto-galaxies using some of the deepest observations of the very early universe ever taken.

Citizen Science

We are also active in citizen science, the direct involvement of the public in science research via the internet, see for more information and currently active projects. We particularly use clicks collected by the project.



Die ETH Zürich in New York

Mit einem Festival im Mai wird der kulturelle und wissenschaftliche Austausch zwischen den Städten Zürich und New York gepflegt. Die ETH ist an «Zurich meets New York» massgeblich beteiligt.


Forschen Sie mit!

Hunderttausende von Laien helfen freiwillig, komplexe Muster zu analysieren und leisten so einen entscheidenden Beitrag zur Forschung. Kevin Schawinski, Professor für Astrophysik und Mitinitiant einer «Citizen Science»-Plattform, möchte diese Art der «Bürgerwissenschaft» bei Wissenschaftlern und Laien populärer machen und erläutert ihre Vorteile.


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