Physics Colloquium: Dwarf Galaxies: The Smallest Lights in the Universe
Prof. Jessica Rosenberg, George Mason University
Abstract: Dwarf galaxies may be small, but as the most common galaxies in the universe they play an important role in its evolution. These galaxies possess a diverse range of properties from diffuse systems to compact ones that are forming stars extremely rapidly for their size. Some are collections of stars with very little gas while others are filled with gas and very few stars. After placing what we know about dwarf galaxies into context I will discuss the radio-infrared correlation which is a technique to measure the formation of stars in these systems. I will also discuss our efforts to measure how much radiation may leak out of these galaxies as stars are forming. This leakage is important because in the early universe it may have contributed to and important stage of evolution, reionization. I will conclude with a discussion of how this work connects with the work that will be done studying extremely distant galaxies with the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope.
Bio: Dr. Rosenberg is an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at George Mason University and Director of Education for the Quantum Materials Center. Her astrophysics research is focused on understanding the evolution of galaxies over cosmic time primarily by studying the baryonic content of galaxies and the intergalactic medium. Her work in STEM education research spans undergraduate education, graduate education, and faculty development. With the Quantum Materials Center she is exploring how we can prepare students coming from a broad range of STEM backgrounds for the quantum information science workforce. She received her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. From 2015-17 she served as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the Office of the Director at the National Science Foundation.