Friday 5th May 2023 The Quest for Cosmic Dawn

First Results from the James Webb Space Telescope

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has delivered the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe so far. Webb’s First Deep Field is galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, and it is teeming with thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared.
Image credit: NASA

Friday 5th May 2023 7.30 pm in the BRLSI and can be attended remotely on Zoom.

Richard Ellis
Professor of Astrophysics, UCL

The first billion years after the Big Bang represent the final frontier in assembling a complete picture of cosmic history. During this period early galaxies formed and the universe first became bathed in light.

How and when did all this occur? Recent progress with the James Webb Space Telescope suggests we may soon witness this dramatic period when the universe emerged from darkness. The motivation is fundamental: the origin of starlight began the chemical evolution which ultimately led to our own existence in this remarkable universe.

Richard Ellis is Professor of Astrophysics at University College London. A Welshman by birth he has held professorial positions at Durham, Cambridge and Oxford universities and spent 16 years at the California Institute of Technology where he was Director of the Palomar Observatory. Richard is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Australian Academy of Sciences, and was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Medal of the Royal Society for his research achievements in cosmology and galaxy evolution. One of the most highly-cited astronomers, he has recently published a semi-autobiographical account of the progress over his career in studying distant galaxies in “When Galaxies Were Born: The Quest for Cosmic Dawn” (Princeton 2022).

“When Galaxies Were Born: The Quest for Cosmic Dawn” is available from Amazon at a cost of £23 with free delivery on this link: Anyone who brings a copy of the book to the lecture can get it signed by Richard Ellis.

A recording of the lecture is freely available here.