Galaxy evolution

The formation and evolution of galaxies through cosmic time is the outcome of a wide range of physics that spans our cosmological model, the fundamental constituents of the universe, and the interplay between luminous matter and dark matter as the largescale structure of universe evolves from its smooth early state to the complexity we observe in the local universe. In Birmingham we study the physics of galaxy evolution in the context of this evolving largescale structure, including time domain astronomy as a new probe of short timescales within galaxies.

Our team

Academics: Dr Sean McGeeProfessor Graham Smith
Fellows: Dr Matteo Bianconi
Students: Paige Ramsden

A galaxy viewed from a distanceCredits: Marco Gullieuszik et al., 2023, The Astrophysical Journal, 954, 54 

Galaxy evolution at Birmingham

We study galaxy groups and clusters and the effect these environments have on galaxy evolution; the short timescale evolution of galaxies (e.g. as measured with transients); and the first generation of stars and black holes. This involves working as part of several large collaborations such as 4MOST, WEAVE and LSST, and preparing for upcoming missions like CASTOR, MSE and LISA.

In the Birmingham-led Local Cluster Substructure Survey, we studied the properties of galaxies and groups of galaxies residing in the infall regions of galaxy clusters, discovering clear evidence for pre-processing of galaxies before they arrive in clusters. Investigating the physics of pre-processing is a major focus of upcoming surveys with WEAVE and 4MOST, including the CHANCES survey that is led by our former Birmingham colleague Dr Chris Haines.