Dwarf Galaxies - Dr. Alan McConnachie

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Apr 9, 2008

On the shoulders of dwarfs

Galaxy formation and the smallest galaxies in the Universe

Dr. Alan McConnachie, University of Victoria

Galaxies are thought to be formed through violent, dynamic processes, in which small galaxies form first and merge together to form larger galaxies. As such, dwarf galaxies occupy a unique niche in galaxy formation models, as the objects which were first to form. I will review our understanding of galaxy formation, with particular attention paid to the role of the dwarf galaxies. I will show how detailed observations of some of the smallest galaxies in the nearby Universe are contributing to our understanding of the formation of our home, the Milky Way galaxy.

Presentation (9.7Mb pdf)

Alan McConnachie received his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge in 2005, for his thesis entitled "Satellites and Substructure in the Local Group". Since then, he has been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Victoria, where he holds a prestigious Research Fellowship from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. This is one of six competitive fellowship awarded yearly to citizens of the Commonwealth for self-directed research in any field of Science and/or Engineering. They were established in 1894 and previous recipients include 12 Nobel Prize winners, including Paul Dirac and James Chadwick. Alan's main research interests concern galaxy formation; in particular, he uses the resolved stellar populations of nearby galaxies as fossil probes to understand cosmological galaxy formation, evolution and the role of dark matter in these processes.

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