The formation and evolution of massive galaxies

Pieter van Dokkum

The talk will review recent results on studies of massive galaxies, with a focus on their evolution from z~3 to the present. Although massive galaxies are not a homogeneous population, we can now sketch their dominant path through cosmic time. Many began as small but extremely dense objects, with remarkable and unique physical conditions that ALMA and near-IR spectroscopy are starting to unravel. Subsequently the galaxies grew inside-out through star formation and accretion of satellites. The compact high redshift galaxies survive as the cores of today's giants, which still bear the imprint of the violent events at high redshift in the form of an altered IMF and supermassive black holes. The talk will also cover some of the open questions in this area, including the uncertainties in stellar masses and star formation rates, the debate about "compaction", and the difficult issue of scatter in the growth histories of galaxies.