Department of Physics & Astronomy
office: 303 Serin Physics Building (West Wing)
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 discovery that Lyman Alpha Emitters represent 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.
The Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) will discover 600,000 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.
The LADUMA survey will be performed on the South African SKA precursor radio interferometer, MeerKAT. I serve on the Executive Committee for LADUMA.
From 2011-2013, I chaired the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) Users Committee; the UC is always open to feedback from members of the community.
During Fall 2015, I am teaching Physics 610: Graduate Interstellar Matter. Previously, I was the instructor for Physics 608: Graduate Cosmology in Spring 2015 and Spring 2009, Physics 341: Principles of Astrophysics (I) and Physics 342: Principles of Astrophysics (II) during 2011-2014, Physics 110: Astronomy and Cosmology (Stars, Galaxies and the Universe) in Fall 2010, Fall 2009, Spring 2008, and Fall 2007, and Physics 689: Graduate Seminar on Galaxy Formation in Fall 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 Nakul Gangolli and Jioayue Yuan, graduate students Humna Awan, Kartheik Iyer, Jean Walker Soler 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 at Goddard Space Flight Center)
Dr. Michael Berry (Ph.D. from Rutgers, now a data scientist at Amazon)
Dr. Lucia Guaita (Ph.D. from U. Catolica/Rutgers, now a postdoctoral fellow at INAF in Rome)
Dr. Harold Francke (Ph.D. from U. Chile/Yale, now on the Scientific Staff at ALMA)
Andrew Leung (B.A. with Honors from Rutgers, now a graduate student at U.Texas Austin)
Hannah Bish (B.A. with Honors from Rutgers, now a graduate student at U. Washington)
Chris Carroll (B.A. from Rutgers, now a graduate student at Dartmouth)
Carlos Vargas (B.A. with Honors from Rutgers, now an NSF Graduate Fellow at New Mexico State)
Gray Kanarek (B.A. with Honors from Rutgers, now a graduate student at Columbia)
Holly Christenson (REU student 2015, now a junior at Western Washington)
You are welcome to look at PDF versions of my CV, Bio, and publications (or check ArXiv or ADS).
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.
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 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.