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Intermediate-Mass Black Holes 2023 conference held in San Pedro, Belize

From December 2-5, 2023 CIERA welcomed 62 attendees to the 2023 iteration of the Intermediate-Mass Black Holes conference series. Held at the Grand Caribe resort in San Pedro, Belize, IMBH 23 explored the various observational and theoretical aspects of intermediate-mass black holes, their unique role in cosmology and galaxy evolution, the formation of gravitational wave sources, and accretion, tidal disruption events & high-energy phenomena.

“I selected Belize based on my connection with Prof. Arlie Petters, a mathematician originally from Belize and the Provost of New York University Abu Dhabi,” said CIERA Prof. Giacomo Fragione, Chair of the IMBH conference series local and scientific organizing committees. “Arlie facilitated my contact with Hon. Dr. Louis Zabaneh, the Belizean Minister of State in Education, Culture, Science and Technology. Through our collaboration, we successfully hosted researchers from around the globe in the incredible country of Belize.”

The four day-long conference was packed with academic talks on topics from IMBH formation environments to multi-wavelength observations, but participants still had plenty of time to explore the area and the town of San Pedro. “In my opinion, the conference was a success overall. Amidst the warm sun of Belize, we delved into the latest developments in the search for intermediate-mass black holes as a community,” shared Prof. Fragione.

Hon. Dr. Louis Zabaneh

“The most enjoyable aspect of conferences is, as usual, the social gatherings, where participants can get involved in meaningful conversations and forge fresh collaborations in a relaxed and friendly environment,” continued Prof. Fragione. On Monday, December 4, Minister Louis Zabaneh spoke to conference attendees about the importance of their work, and organized a presentation for participants on local archeology. Minister Zabaneh and his team joined the conference banquet that evening where participants thoroughly enjoyed an infectious performance by Garífuna drummers coordinated by the Ministry. The Garífuna (pl. Garínagu) are the descendents of indigenous Arawak, Kalinago, and Afro-Carribean people.

“Thanks so much for organizing this unique meeting – both scientifically and outside of that!” remarked one attendee in our post-event feedback form. “The organization was superb, and organizers were extremely helpful with anything that was unclear,” noted another. “Great conference overall!”

“As in [the 2022 IMBH conference held in] Puerto Rico last year, we have shown that the community working on intermediate-mass black holes is expanding and is engaging in a multi-disciplinary effort to finally find these elusive objects in the Universe,” said Prof. Fragione. “Numerous participants have already expressed interest in me organizing the next one, ideally within the next couple of years.”