Professor Stephen A Eales
Head of Astronomy Group
Two of my intellectual passions are astronomy and the communication of astronomy to the general public. The aims of my astronomical research are to understand the birth and history of galaxies and the general properties of the Universe, but I am also interested, although as an onlooker, in the origin, physics and chemistry of interstellar dust and in exoplanets and astrobiology. I have written one popular astronomy book (Origins, Springer 2006, 2010) and one textbook. I am currently at work on a book on the Herschel Space Observatory, which is aimed at a non-scientific audience.
2013-present: Head of Astronomy Group, Cardiff University
2004-present: Professor, Cardiff University
2000-2004: Reader, Cardiff University
1998-2000: Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University
1994-1998: Lecturer, Cardiff University
Honours and awards
2015: Herschel Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society
990-1994: Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
1988-1989: AURA Research Fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute
1986-1988: Research Fellow at the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii
1981-1985: Ph.D. student at the Cavendish Laboratory (radio astronomy group) in Cambridge University
1978-1981: BA at Cambridge University (Emmanuel College)
I will be on research leave in 2018-2019, but this year I taught two courses:
- Synoptic Astrophysics in the second year
- Galaxies and Galaxy Evolution in the third year
Galaxies are huge assemblies of stars, ranging in size from the dwarf galaxies attached to our galaxy, which contain only a few thousand stars, to the giant galaxies of one thousand billion stars in the centres of rich clusters. My main research goals are to understand the processes in these objects, how galaxies were formed in the first place, and how they have evolved over time. Because much of the energy from these systems is hidden by interstellar dust, much of my research is carried out with submillimetre telescopes that detect the energy from this dust, such as the Herschel Space Observatory and the Atacama Large Millimetre Array. A second research goal is to come up with new methods for measuring cosmological parameters, such as with the gravitationally lensed sources discovered by Herschel.
Current Research Projects
- I am the co-leader of the largest Herschel survey of the extragalactic universe, the Herschel ATLAS. Although we have now released the data, my team is still working on several projects with this magnificent dataset.
- I am using ALMA to study the gravitationally-lensed sources discovered with Herschel. My main aims are to to use the high resolution of ALMA, aided by the magnification provided by the lensing, to study the interstellar medium and star formation in galaxies in the process of formation.
- With an international team of astronomers, I am currently carrying out the first high-resolution submillimetre survey (HASHTAG) of the Andromeda Galaxy with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. By combining the results of this new survey with the results of a survey of the galaxy with the Hubble Space Telescope, we aim to produce (a) the first high-resolution maps of the properties of dust in an external galaxy, (b) the first reliable estimates of the star-formation rate in a galaxy, plus a host of other projects.
- The Herschel ATLAS detected dusty sources out to a redshift of 6. We plan to go to even high redshifts using a survey with a new millimetre camera, MUSCAT, currently being built by the Cardiff Astronomy Instrumentation Group for the Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico.