Cutting Edge Lecture in Science By Tracy Webb (Physics, McGill)
Dr. Webb’s research centers on the growth of structure in the universe, and galaxies in particular. My approach is to use data at many different wavelengths of light; each wavelength probes a different physical process and tells us something unique about galaxy formation. Because a lot of the physics in galaxies happens behind thick veils of dust, she focusses much of her research on submillimeter (~400-1200µm) and mid/far-infrared (~3-400µm) observations, which directly detect the dust and provide clues to what's happening behind it. She primarily studies galaxies in the very distant and young universe (i.e., high-redshift); because of the finite speed of light we are seeing these systems as they existed 5-12 billion years ago and can literally watch them form! However,she is also beginning programs to study near-by galaxies since these systems can be studied in much more detail and will provide insight into the processes which formed the galaxies of today.