Eric Gawiser

Associate Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Rutgers University
office: 303 Serin Physics Building (West Wing)
phone (732)445-5500 x2733
fax (732)445-4343
e-mail: gawiser@physics.rutgers.edu
Research interests: Observational cosmology, Galaxy formation.

I serve as PI of MUSYC, which is a square degree UBVRIzJHK survey plus satellite coverage from Chandra, XMM, HST-ACS, and Spitzer-IRAC+MIPS and spectroscopic follow-up using Magellan, Gemini, and VLT. Our deep images of the high-redshift universe reveal Lyman Alpha Emitters, Lyman Break Galaxies, Active Galactic Nuclei, Distant Red Galaxies and Damped Lyman alpha Absorbers, which represent families of galaxies selected in different ways. Measuring the star formation rates, stellar masses, ages and dark matter masses of these galaxies determines the extent to which the different types overlap and whether they constitute an evolutionary sequence fundamental to the process of galaxy formation. MUSYC has published 60 refereed papers, including several major advances in the study of galaxy formation and evolution. I led the recent discovery that Lyman Alpha Emitters represent the progenitors of present-day L* galaxies, observed during an early starburst phase when they had low stellar mass, no measurable dust, and very high specific star formation rates.

Shirley Ho and I are Co-Chairs of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) science collaboration on Large-Scale Structure, which will measure the clustering of billions of galaxies to probe dark energy, modified gravity, dark matter, neutrino masses, and the inflationary potential starting in 2020. The LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration also includes an analysis working group on Large Scale Structure, for which Shirley Ho and I serve as Co-Convenors. I am also a member of the LSST Galaxies science collaboration and the CANDELS and LESS collaborations. Saurabh Jha and I share duties as Rutgers' Institutional Representative to the LSST Board.

The LADUMA survey will be performed on the South African SKA precursor radio interferometer, MeerKAT. I serve on the Executive Committee for LADUMA.

The Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) will discover 800,000 Lyman Alpha Emitting (LAE) galaxies from 2014-2017 and will use them to test the concordance cosmological model of general relativity plus a cosmological constant and cold dark matter. The HETDEX LAE sample will also revolutionize our understanding of galaxy formation via an order of magnitude improvement in precision measurements of the clustering of distant galaxies. I joined HETDEX in 2009.

I chair the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) Users Committee; we are always open to feedback from members of the community.

During Spring 2013, I am teaching Physics 342: Principles of Astrophysics (II) (which I also taught in Spring 2012). Previously, I was the instructor for Physics 341: Principles of Astrophysics (I) in Fall 2012 and Fall 2011, Physics 110: Astronomy and Cosmology (Stars, Galaxies and the Universe) in Fall 2010, Fall 2009, Spring 2008, and Fall 2007, Physics 689: Graduate Seminar on Galaxy Formation in Fall 2009, and Physics 608: Graduate Cosmology in Spring 2009.

I have also worked on the Extragalactic Atlas of the Digital Universe project at the Hayden Planetarium, where I served as a Hayden Associate.

My research group at Rutgers includes undergraduates Hannah Bish, Andrew Leung, Aneesa Sonawalla and Rachel Bailey, graduate students Jean Walker Soler, Michael Berry, and Alejandra Muñoz, and research scientist Dr. Peter Kurczynski. Former group members and their current institutions are:
Prof. Viviana Acquaviva (postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers, now junior faculty at CUNY NYC College of Technology)
Dr. Nicholas Bond (postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers, now a NASA postdoctoral fellow at Goddard Space Flight Center)
Dr. Lucia Guaita (Ph.D. from U. Catolica/Rutgers, now a postdoctoral fellow at the Oskar Klein Cosmology Centre of Stockholm University)
Dr. Harold Francke (Ph.D. from U. Chile/Yale, now a postdoctoral fellow at U. Católica de Chile)
Chris Carroll (B.A. from Rutgers, now a graduate student at Dartmouth)
Carlos Vargas (B.A. with Honors from Rutgers, now a graduate student at New Mexico State)
Gray Kanarek (B.A. with Honors from Rutgers, now a graduate student at Columbia)

You are welcome to look at PDF versions of my CV and publications (or check ArXiv or ADS).


From 2002-2006, I was an NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow in the Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics. From 2002-2004, I was also an Andes Prize Fellow, which is a joint appointment at the Departamento de Astronomia of Universidad de Chile and the Astronomy Department at Yale University.

I wrote a public IDL code called observable that calculates the airmass, parallactic angle, and atmospheric differential refraction for use in planning imaging and multislit spectroscopy.


From 1999-2002, I was a postdoctoral research physicist at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at the University of California at San Diego. My research at U.C. San Diego involved an empirical study of galaxy formation in collaboration with Art Wolfe, Jason Prochaska, and Jeff Cooke. We performed multislit observations with the Keck telescope to find Lyman-break galaxies near known Damped Lyman-alpha Absorption Systems. This allowed us to study the emission properties of the DLAs as well as whether they cluster with emission-selected high-redshift galaxies. Our results were published in ApJ. Looking for help reducing Keck LRIS(B) or ESI data? Check out my data reduction cookbooks.

Click here for a compilation of all reported CMB anisotropy detections and upper limits from 1992-2000, or here for more info on UCSD's Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation Discussion Group.


I received my doctorate in theoretical cosmology from U.C. Berkeley in May 1999. My dissertation with Professor Joseph Silk, Big Bang Leftovers in the Microwave: Cosmology with the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, is available here. Joe Silk and I also wrote a review article on the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation.

I led the WOMBAT project to estimate the Galactic and extragalactic foreground contribution to microwave anisotropy. Extragalactic foregrounds will significantly affect the MAP and Planck satellites, balloon-borne experiments such as MAXIMA and BOOMERANG, and interferometers including VSA, CBI, and DASI because of their high resolution.

I lectured Astronomy 10 at U.C. Berkeley during Summer 1999.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant. Nos. AST-0201667, AST-0807570 and CAREER Award AST-1055919. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.