Astrophysics Gains Funding for Galaxy Evolution Research
In a testament to her pioneering work in astrophysics, PHAS faculty Allison Man has recently received substantial funding from the BC Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) for her project: “Infrastructure for advancing galaxy evolution research with the James Webb Space Telescope and the Gemini Observatory”.
This award offers matching funding with the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) awards, which were announced in August, 2023. These combined grants are set to bolster an expansive project delving into extragalactic astrophysics and charting the growth of galaxies across cosmic time.
Allison Man’s project aims to leverage the extensive data collected by the James Webb Space Telescope, seeking to unravel the mysteries behind the faint signals emanating from galaxies billions of light-years away. She emphasizes the challenges in analyzing these faint signals, often buried within instrument noise. "The James Webb telescope has been flying for nearly a couple of years and has collected many observations, but there are many things we see that we can’t yet explain”.
The project seeks to address these challenges by employing the allocated funds to recruit and train students and postdoctoral researchers, and fostering the development of robust software infrastructure at UBC. Man explains the necessity of modeling instrumental noise and optimizing signal extraction, thereby enabling a clearer understanding of the astrophysical signals. “This is vital to retrieve the origins of these faint signals efficiently and accurately”, she explains, and is at the “very heart of how we can advance galaxy evolution research and possibly unveil new phenomena”.
The BCKDF supports research projects across BC Universities, in order to improve the productivity and competitiveness of BC’s economy, as well as to plant potential future dividends such as discoveries, patents, commercialization and spinoffs that will influence the lives and well-being of people living in B.C.
For university researchers, this funding investment galvanizes and inspires research to address challenges and discover new solutions. As Deborah Buszard, past UBC interim president and vice-chancellor acknowledges, “today’s investment in research infrastructure is a testament to the wide-ranging research potential across UBC campuses”.
• About the BC Knowledge Development Fund