Galactic Luminaries to Converge on University of Texas Tuesday

5 November 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — More than 130 astronomers from nearly a dozen countries and more than 30 institutions will meet in Austin next week to brainstorm about the evolution of galaxies — those vast cities of billions of stars that are the “bricks” making up the cosmos — and the mysterious “dark matter” that is their largest component.

The conference, called “Galaxy Evolution: Emerging Insights and Future Challenges,” has been organized by University of Texas assistant professor of astronomy Shardha Jogee, whose expertise lies in the study of galaxy mergers and in particular, spiral galaxies like the Milky Way. The meeting will bring together key astronomical observers and theorists from top institutes in the United States, Canada, Chile, England, France, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain, and other countries.

Media are invited to attend, and film and/or record, the opening remarks of the conference by UT College of Natural Sciences Dean Mary Ann Rankin, Astronomy Department Chair Neal Evans, and conference organizer Jogee on November 11 at 9 a.m. in the Texas Union Building on the UT campus, at the corner of 24th and Guadalupe Streets.

Over the course of four days (November 11-14), the scientists will discuss galaxy formation and mergers, star formation in galaxies, and brainstorm on ways to tackle the challenges facing current paradigms of galaxy evolution.

Some of the speakers from The University of Texas astronomy program include faculty members Jogee, Karl Gebhardt, John Kormendy, Milos Milosavljevic, and Gregory Shields, as well as several graduate students and post-doctoral researchers.

This conference is sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory and Department of Astronomy Board of Visitors Excellence Fund.

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Notes: More information is available at the conference web site. You can find information about and images of Jogee, Gebhardt, and Kormendy at McDonald Observatory’s “Astronomy Experts for Media” web page.