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Growth of Massive Galaxies with John Moustakas

April 13, 2018
02:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Bausch & Lomb 375

John Moustakas
Department of Physics & Astronomy, Siena College

TITLE: Growth of Massive Galaxies

ABSTRACT: Massive galaxies, the most massive of which are generally found at the centers of the largest dark matter halos in the universe, provide a unique laboratory for investigating several  longstanding problems in galaxy formation and evolution.  Despite their importance, however, measurements of the mass assembly and star formation histories of massive galaxies remain  discordant and controversial, resulting in significant uncertainties in how numerical simulations treat gas cooling, star formation, and feedback from massive stars and supermassive black  holes in massive halos.

I will review the various challenges confronting efforts to measure the stellar mass growth of massive galaxies, and the significant implications of these discrepancies for theoretical models of  galaxy formation.  I will then describe ongoing work to obtain an accurate census of the integrated stellar mass content of massive galaxies at intermediate redshift using new deep, wide-area optical and mid-infrared imaging from the Legacy Surveys (

Finally, for the data science enthusiasts, I will also describe some of the big-data challenges confronting the Legacy Surveys, as well as the forthcoming Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) survey.


BIO: John Moustakas received a Bachelor of Arts degree with High Honors in Physics and Astrophysics, with a minor in English Literature, from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000. One of the highlights of his college career was the year spent abroad at the Edinburgh University in Scotland taking classes at the Royal Observatory. He attended graduate school at the University of Arizona and obtained both a Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Astrophysics.  His esis, completed in 2006 under the direction of Prof. Robert Kennicutt and Prof. Dennis Zartisky, was entitled "Spectral Diagnostics of Galaxy Evolution." He went on to complete two 3-year post-doctoral research fellowships, first at New York University with Prof. Michael Blanton, and then at the University of California, San Diego with Prof. Alison Coil. Finally, Moustakas joined the faculty at Siena College as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in 2012. 


RSVP to Segev BenZvi, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy,

Category: Talks