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Research

Public Summary

During my PhD my research initially focused on the multi-wavelength properties of high redshift star-forming galaxies. Essentially the term, redshift, describes how far out into the Universe a galaxy is and how long into the distant past the light from the galaxy was emitted.

This redshift is actually a measure of how much the light has been stretched out as the Universe has expanded. Due to the finite speed limit of light, the further away a galaxy is, the longer the light has taken to reach us, the more the Universe has expanded in that time, and the more the light is stretched. This stretching causes the light to have a longer wavelength. The wavelength of light is related to its colour, with blue things having a short wavelength, and red things having a longer wavelength (if you want to learn more about this, see here). Light which is stretched to longer wavelength is therefore, red-shifted. In studying high-redshift galaxies we are looking at galaxies which have had there light shifted very far into the red. These are the most distant galaxies in the Universe which existed billions of years ago when the Universe was just a fraction of it’s current age.

I first had to find these galaxies using some of the worlds largest telescopes (which is very hard as they are very faint!) and then study what they were made of and how they were structured.

Over the past 4 years my research has focused on the more local Universe – galaxies within about 3×1022km of us. While this might not seem very local to you, thats pretty near by in astronomical terms and means we are studying the Universe as it is now not as it was 12billion years ago (or at least have the Universe has been over the last 2billion years!).

I use massive surveys of galaxies taking in data for the worlds leading telescope all around the world to study the statistical properties of galaxies (which you can find out about below). My research is mainly focused on how galaxies from new stars and what happens when galaxies smash together in colossal cosmic car crashes.

Astronomers Summary

I am currently employed in the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) at the UWA, in the role of ‘WAVES-deep project scientist’. This a continuation from my previous position at the same institute under a prestigious John Stocker Fellowship. I have also previously held research positions at both the University of Bristol (UK) and University of Portsmouth (UK).

I have a leading role in a number of large international projects, I am:

  • Principle Investigator of the Deep Extragalactic VIsible Legacy Survey (DEVILS) – a 90-night large program on the Anglo-Australaian Telescope.
  • Project Scientist for Wide Area VISTA Extragalactic Survey (WAVES) – a 2Million redshift galaxy evolution survey on the ESO-4MOST telescope.
  • Lead of the 4MOST extragalactic analysis pipeline working group and member of the Operations Development Group  – 4MOST is a 60M euro upgrade to the VISTA telescope.
  • Deputy lead of the ASKAP-EMU key science project to measure star-formation – EMU is one of Australia’s flag-ship surveys with the Australian SKA Precursor, ASKAP, telescope.
  • A Core member of many other large survey teams, most notably GAMA in which I have established myself as an international expert on star-formation and interactions.

 

Over the past four years, my research has been focused on parameterising three central components of galaxy evolution in the local Universe: star-formation, the effect of environment on sub-Mpc scales (pairs and groups), and how star-formation and mergers combine to form and redistribute stars.

I have explored the properties of star-forming galaxies in the early Universe (Davies et al., 2010, 2012, 2013), laying the foundations for future studies with ALMA (Koprowski et al, 2016). More recently, I have focused on the local Universe, producing detailed parameterisations of star formation (Davies et al., 2016b, 2017) and interactions (Davies et al., 2015b, 2016a) in GAMA. In terms of data collection and management, I have produced extensive data products for GAMA, and developed online tools for accessing/analysing this data (GAMA-PSI, astroMap, etc). Most significantly, the DEVILS survey in its entirety will provide an extensive legacy dataset with which to study galaxy evolution.

View a complete list of my publications.

Or see my current CV.

Adventure is out there!

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