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EEASY Report Summary

Project ID: 321913
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Italy

Final Report Summary - EEASY (SMBH evolution across cosmic time: from current surveys to eROSITA and Euclid AGN synergies)

Since the seminal discovery, more than ten years ago (Magorrian et al. 1998), of the presence of SMBH (M_BH>10^6 Msun) in the nuclei of virtually all galaxies, it has been realised that Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are not exotic phenomena occurring in a small fraction of galaxies, but rather a key ingredient of their formation and evolution. Support for this hypothesis comes from several observational evidences, and in particular: i) the match between the mass function of BHs grown through AGN phases and that observed in local galaxies (Marconi et al. 2004; Shankar et al. 2004); ii) the cosmological “downsizing” of both nuclear activity and star formation (Ueda et al. 2003; Fiore et al. 2003; Cowie et al. 1996); iii) the fact that spheroid properties of local galaxies are correlated with the mass of the BH in their centre (the so-called “local scaling relations", Ferrarese & Merrit 2000; Gebhardt et al. 2000).
Understanding how the first active galaxies and quasars formed in the early Universe and how they evolved along Cosmic Time is a major observational and theoretical effort. Despite the progress made in recent years, often sparse and not always conclusive, we do not yet have a clear consistent picture of when did BH start to accrete, which growth modes occur, in what systems, and under what conditions. In particular, according to the most popular models of AGN and galaxies co-evolution, starburst galaxies, unobscured quasars and inactive (and quenched) galaxies represent the different phases of an evolutionary sequence reproducing the most massive galaxies observed in the Universe. In this context, gas flows in the form of energetic outflows are postulated to play a pivotal role in this process, given that they regulate both accretion and ejection of material onto and from the SMBH and can propagate momentum and energy over a wide spatial scale, acting on the fuel from which new stars form and stopping the host galaxy growth.

In order to shed light on this important topic, what is required is a systematic analysis and interpretation of high-quality multi-wavelength data on a sample as large as possible of representative AGNs. The "eEASy" project ( has been funded to significantly advance in this research field. The main goals of "eEASy", as presented in the proposal, were: 1) determine the AGN bolometric luminosity function, by constructing the largest, homogeneous and complete sample of AGN to date; 2) measure the incidence of mergers and secular processes for the triggering AGNs, using samples probing the break of AGN LF at z = 1-3; 3) study the effect of AGN feedback on galaxy growth through a detailed and comprehensive characterization of systems properties; 4) provide the first samples of high-z (z> 6) X-ray selected QSOs to be used as constraints on cosmological models of BH formation.
In order to accomplish these goals, the CIG grant funded a PhD position to work on the IR data reduction and analysis. Dr. Michele Perna completed his graduate studies on November 2016, with a Thesis on “Starbursting to quenching: the role of X-ray emission in Active Galactic Nuclei feedback processes”. He is now a competent and well recognised researcher in the field of optical and NIR data reduction and analysis, especially for Adaptive Optics assisted data, and since January 2017 is now a post-doc at INAF-Arcetri, working in the AO group led by Simone Esposito, with access to facilities such as LBT (ARGOS) and working on the preparation of new generation instruments, such as MICADO at E-ELT. The Post-doctoral contract was offered to Dr. Giorgio Lanzuisi, who moved from Athens observatory to University of Bologna in January 2014. Initially funded for two years, it has been renewed for years 2016 and 2017 thanks to the availability of additional fundings obtained with the support of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and INAF Bologna observatory. Most of his activities have been devoted to the comparison of X-ray and MIR selection of obscured AGN, a critical step towards the full characterisation of AGN bolometric properties. Finally, the researcher beneficiary of the CIG grant, Dr. Marcella Brusa, supervised all project activities. At the same time, thanks to the exploitation of observational data obtained at highly demanded telescopes, Dr. Brusa established a new expertise both on the technical side (IR and mm data reduction and analysis) and on the scientific side (the topic of AGN winds). In particular, the results on the presence of winds of ionised gas in high-luminosity obscured QSOs at z=1-2 obtained from X-shooter observations (Brusa et al. 2015, MNRAS 446, 2394) have been very well received by the community and contributed to the increase of interest of the AGN-galaxy co-evolution community on the topic of AGN winds.

The products of the "eEASy" project have been disseminated through an expert and non-expert audience. The main scientific results have been the topic of several publications (~30) appeared since January 2015 in high impact-factor journals such as "The Astrophysical Journal", "Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical society" and "Astronomy and Astrophysics". The complete list of papers, including the full titles, the full author list and the details of the publications is given in the “Final report” and is available at the web page ( Another important form of dissemination adopted to enhance the spread of the results from the "eEASy" project has been a timely and frequent participation to international conferences, where the results on effect of AGN feedback have been presented both in form of “invited" or “contributed" talks. This also included the organization of one international conference in September 2016, “Crossing the Rubicon: the fate of gas flows in galaxies”, in Santarcangelo di Romagna (RN, Italy). The results from the "eEASy" projects also constituted the core of few institute seminars/colloquia, as well as the motivation behind the efforts to plan future observational strategies to follow-up of ROSAT and/or eROSITA sources and presented at eROSITA and SPIDERS consortia meetings. The complete list of talks, invited talks and institute seminars given by the three eEASy team members is detailed at the web page:

Concerning public outreach activities, the results from 4 papers published in 2015 in the framework of the "eEASy" project have been advertised in the Italian community with an INAF press-release ( Dr. Brusa has been responsible of the organization of the lectures "Conferenze alla Specola", a monthly outreach event on Astronomy jointly organised by DIFA/Unibo and INAF/OABo (, and of the associated Facebook page "Conferenze alla Specola” ( The events and the FB page are in Italian, and have the objective of dissemination of Astronomical/Astrophysical" research (and related aspects, such as bounds with art, literature and music) within a public of non-expert adults. In september 2014, Dr. Brusa presented her own work in this series of conferences, with a lecture on “Buchi Neri e Venti Galattici" (Black Holes and Galactic Winds). The main focus of the conference was the dissemination of the results obtained in the framework of the CIG project and in particular those on AGN feedback. On September 2016, in the framework of the "Crossing the Rubicon” conference, Dr. Marcella Brusa with other 3 colleagues of INAF/OABo (Andrea Comastri and Renzo Sancisi) and DIFA/UNIBO (Filippo Fraternali) delivered a Public conference on the subject “Galaxies and Black Holes” ( The event was a great success (attended by an audience of ~300 persons) and had a lot of resonance in local media.

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