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New Study by Tonima Tasnim Ananna ‘13 Breaks Ground in Black Hole Research

August 16, 2022
Headshot of Tonima Tasmin Ananna

A recent study by Tonima Tasnim Ananna ‘13 published in The Astrophysical Journal clears the mystery around the life cycles of black holes.  

Ananna, who is a postdoctoral research associate at Dartmouth College, led her team in examining a type of supermassive black hole known as “active galactic nuclei” (AGN). Black holes have different colors and levels of brightness, which has largely been attributed to the angle from which they are being viewed. However, Ananna’s study discovered that the differences in a black hole’s light emission actually reflect the stage of a black hole’s life cycle. 

The research team’s findings refute the “unified model of AGNs,” which states that differences in black hole appearances depend on viewing angle and characterizes supermassive black holes as having the same properties. The results from the study provide valuable insight the evolution of black holes and the universe. 

Ananna majored in physics at Bryn Mawr, and astronomy at Haverford. She was listed as one of Science News’ 10 Scientists to Watch in 2020. 


Astrophysicist Tonima Tasnim Ananna '13 Makes List of 10 Scientists to Watch

There were not a lot of opportunities to study space in Bangladesh, so she came to the United States for undergrad, attending Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. “The women at Bryn Mawr were fiercely feminist, articulate, opinionated and independent,” she says. “It really helped me grow a lot.” 

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