What makes galaxies evolve?

Project ID: 



Sarah Brough

Galaxies in our local Universe are quite different from the galaxies we see at cosmological distances (which is also a long time ago). I study nearby galaxies in great detail to understand the physical mechanisms that cause them to evolve. I am particularly interested in how their mass and the environment in which they are found are responsible for that evolution. To answer these questions I use optical spectroscopy from large galaxy surveys like the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey (300,000 galaxies) and the SAMI Galaxy Survey (spectroscopic dissection of 3,500 galaxies) to measure the environment and mass and analyse the star formation, angular momentum, and the ages of the stars that make up these galaxies. There are still many open questions to be answered, these include: what is the best way to measure the environment of a galaxy, why do some of the most massive galaxies have young stars at their centres, and is the angular momentum of galaxies in simulations the same as in observations?