RISEandFALL - The rise and fall of galaxies in the early Universe

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Physics


Understanding the nature of the very first galaxies and the physical processes responsible for the build up of their stellar mass and chemical enrichment, as well as their subsequent decline in terms of star formation, are some of the ultimate goals of extragalactic astrophysics. This project will primarily exploit access to two forthcoming, cutting-edge observing facilities, the James Webb Space Telescope and the MOONS spectrograph on the Very Large Telescope, as well as data from the Atacama Large (sub-)Millimetre Array, to achieve an unprecedented leap forward on these topics. The project is divided in two main parts: the first one investigating galaxies in their infancy and their rapid growth and chemical enrichment during the early cosmic epochs; the second part will investigate the competing processes that quench star formation resulting in the emergence of passive systems. Understanding the 'Rise and Fall' of galaxies across the cosmic epochs is a vast area of research. The proposal will focus on the following, ambitious goals: 1) identify and reveal the nature of the first population of galaxies and of their black hole seeds; 2) determine the early evolution of the stellar mass growth and associated chemical enrichment to constrain the primary galaxy evolutionary mechanisms in the early Universe; 3) determine the primary processes responsible for quenching star formation in galaxies across the cosmic epochs.


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