Student-Faculty Programs Office
Summer 2017 Announcements of Opportunity

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Project:  Star Formation and Starburst Galaxies
Disciplines:  Astrophysics, Physics
Mentor:  Nicholas Lee, Professor, (PMA), nlee@dark-cosmology.dk
Mentor URL:  http://dark.nbi.ku/dk  (opens in new window)
AO Contact:  Charles Steinhardt, charles@dark-cosmology.dk
Background:  NOTE: This project is being offered by a former Caltech postdoc and will take place at the Niels Borh Institute at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

This is one of several projects available at the Niels Bohr Institute this summer, and we expect that in total 3-5 Caltech students will come to Copenhagen. Since travel within Europe is inexpensive, this will be an 11 or 12 week program, so that students can take a 1-2 week vacation to see other parts of Europe. Other projects in astronomy with different mentors will be described in separate posts, but you are also welcome to contact us to ask about them ahead of time. We hope to finalize who will be coming by the end of December, so that there will be plenty of time to both write a SURF proposal and take care of any necessary visa/housing.

Galaxy Star Formation Rates (SFR) are one of the key, fundamental measurements in astronomy as they dictate how galaxies form and grow into the wide diversity of galaxies we see in the present-day universe. There are a wide variety of methods used to estimate star formation rates, with two of the most accurate methods being (i) measuring the luminosity in the H-alpha emission line (which is excited by radiation from young stars), and (ii) measuring the (far-infrared) thermal emission from dust heated by young stars. We have recently completed two surveys to measure both the H-alpha luminosity and far-infrared luminosity in thousands of star-forming galaxies, allowing us to accurately study star formation in a large, statistical sample of galaxies.
Description:  From this wealth of data, the student will study the detailed physics of star formation, and how it varies between normal, star forming galaxies and starburst galaxies. For example, H-alpha is a near-instantaneous measure of the SFR while dust emission traces SFR averaged over the last few million years. Galaxies with low H-alpha luminosity, but high dust-traced SFR may have recently quenched their star formation, and determining the cause of this quenching is one of the major open questions in astronomy. With this unique dataset, the student will be able to directly investigate these issues.
References:  http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1998ARA&;A..36..189K
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014MNRAS.445.1598H
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015ApJ...801...80L
Student Requirements:  none listed
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.


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Problems with or questions about submitting an AO?  Call Jen Manglos of the Student-Faculty Programs Office at (626) 395-2885.
 
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