University of Oxford
Denys Wilkinson Building
Voronoi binned myself
|Office 755 (top floor)|
|Synthetic CV: I obtained my PhD in astrophysics at the University of Padova. I was awarded a VENI Fellowship by NWO at the University of Leiden and both an Advanced Fellowship by STFC and a University Research Fellowship by the Royal Society, at the University of Oxford, where I am now a Professor of Astrophysics.|
See my review on galaxy structure and evolution:
|Figure 1: Differentiating between the stellar and dark matter with integral field stellar kinematics and JAM dynamical models. This analysis allowed us to discover a systematic variation of the stellar Initial Mass Function in early-type galaxies. Read about this finding in our Nature Letter or in some news coverage about it.|
|Figure 2: Replacing the handle of Hubble's tuning fork. Read about the discovery behind the proposed change in our paper or in some news coverage of our finding.|
|Figure 3: The dark matter conspiracy. Read a description of our finding in the press release from the the Keck Observatory.|
|Figure 4: Schematic representation of Schwarzschild's numerical orbital-superposition dynamical modelling method. The figure was taken from Cappellari (2015). An explanation of the spider-like orbital shapes is given here.|
Formation and evolution of galaxies: Observations at high redshift, combined with detailed measurements of the cosmic microwave background (e.g. Spergel et al. 2007), have provided a scenario for galaxy formation in which the Universe is dominated by dark matter of unknown nature. The general scenario for the assembly of the dark matter seems to be rather well understood as it can be described by a hierarchical process driven by the sole influence of gravity (e.g. Springel et al. 2005). Much however still has to be learnt about the way the luminous matter, namely the stars and galaxies that we actually observe, form from the accretion of gas within the dark matter potential. The complication comes from the fact that these processes are driven by the hydrodynamic and chemistry of the gas, combined with complex feedback processes of the radiation on it.
In my work I am trying to understand how the galaxies were assembled using two complementary approaches. I am observing nearby objects, that can be analyzed in detail due to their vicinity, which contain the fossil record of billions of years of evolution. And I am observing the distant galaxies whose light reaches us after billions of years of travel through space. For this reason we can see them as they were when the Universe was young and the galaxies were still forming.
I was awarded the 2018 🏆 Tartufari International Prize for Astronomy by the Lincei Academy "for the profound effect on our knowledge of the structure of galaxies" achieved by my research using integral-field spectroscopy. In 2020 I was included in the list of 🏆 Highly Cited Researchers "recognizing the true pioneers in their fields over the last decade, demonstrated by the production of multiple highly-cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year".
My work has progressed along the following lines of research: