Cosmology is the study of the origin, current state, and future of our universe. Our faculty are involved in studies such as the nature of galactic nuclei and quasars, the first generation of galaxies, and the structure of the early universe. We focus in particular on general relativity, black holes, neutron stars, and other endpoints of stellar evolution, the expanding universe, cosmic microwave background radiation, and dark matter. Techniques include measurements in infrared astronomy and the cosmic microwave background.

Faculty research

  • Steve Furlanetto studies the formation of the first luminous objects in the universe, including how their properties depend upon fundamental cosmology and how we can use their environments to understand the composition of our universe.
  • Matthew Malkan studies the nature of active galactic nuclei and quasars, and has searched for high redshift galaxies associated with quasar absorption line system.
  • Ian McLean studies the first generation of galaxies in the Universe by observing their emission redshifted into the infrared.
  • Smadar Naoz is studying structure formation in the very early Universe. This involves both analytical and numerical simulations calculations of the first gas rich and poor objects.
  • Michael Rich is part of a team of astronomers who will measure the age of the Universe from the ages of the oldest white dwarfs in the globular cluster M4. As a byproduct, the Hubble Space Telescope imagery will produce an image as deep as the Hubble Deep Field.
  • Edward Wright studies cosmology using infrared astronomy and the cosmic microwave background (CMB). He is the Principal Investigator on the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) to be launched in 2009, and he has been involved with the Spitzer Space Telescope since 1976. Wright studies the CMB, which gives evidence about the state of the Universe in the first picosecond after the Big Bang, using data from the COsmic Background Explorer (COBE, launched in 1989 - Nobel Prize in Physics 2006) and the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP, launched in 2001).


Research scholars

  • Lisbeth Jensen is investigating a temperature variation on WMAP, and is simulating its effect on the WMAP data.