Tracing the Ancestry of our Stars

Tracing the Ancestry of our Stars

Thursday, April 19, 2018 from 11:45 AM to 1:00 PM (EDT)
MIT Room W20-306 | Stratton Student Center | 84 Massachusetts Ave | Cambridge, MA 02139

The question about our ancestral origins has always been a preoccupation of humans beings. Today that question receives even greater attention as advancements in genomics have allowed us to map out the likely origins of our genetic makeup and therefore, granted us a glimpse at our ancestral forerunners—at least, geographically speaking. In Galactic Archeology, astronomers use the structural, dynamical, chemical, and age information of gas and stars to ascertain their historical origins in the context of the Milky Way, our sister Andromeda, and other nearby galaxies as well as their dwarf galaxy satellites. While I’m interested in all the aforementioned information pertaining to the origin of the Milky Way and its stellar systems, I have focused on understanding the information encoded in the chemical composition of stars (galactic “DNA”) in our Galaxy and, in particular, nearby dwarf galaxies. In doing so, I believe that tracing/modeling the evolution of chemical markers via semi-analytic models in these galactic systems is akin to studying galaxies’ genetic histories—or “Galactic Genealogy.” As a galactic genealogist, I will describe 1) our current understanding of the history of our Galaxy via galactic chemical evolution and 2) the methods by which we attain our information and the basic observational underpinnings of our models.

This discussion will be accessible to a general audience. We ask that you register here.

If you are able to attend, please reply to Shauna Bush-Fenty (sfenty@mit.edu) with any dietary restrictions, accessibility considerations or other needs.

If tickets are sold out, please contact Shauna Bush-Fenty (sfenty@mit.edu) to be added to the waitlist.