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Award Winner to Give Next Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture

Amy Barger

Amy Barger, the recipient of the 2007 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award of the American Physical Society "for her pioneering efforts in using observational cosmology to provide new insight into the evolution of black holes, star formation rates and galaxies," will present the next Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture on Monday, March 19 at 7 p.m. in the IfA Manoa auditorium.

Her lecture will be "The Cosmic History of Supermassive Black Holes." With the advent of large space observatories and new instruments on ground-based telescopes, astronomers are mapping much of the star formation and growth of supermassive black holes that produces the light of the Universe. The emerging consensus is that a small number of giant galaxies containing colossal black holes and prodigious bursts of star formation dominated the early Universe, while in the more recent Universe, the creation of stars and the accumulation of material into black holes is occurring in a large number of medium-size and small galaxies. Barger will present observations made at many different wavelengths that show this vast downsizing of cosmic activity.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Barger earned her B.A. in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Cambridge. In 1996, she became a postdoctoral fellow at IfA. She continued her research here after being named both a Hubble fellow and a Chandra fellow at large in 1999. Barger returned to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000 as an assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy and was promoted to associate professor in 2004. She also holds an appointment as affiliate graduate faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UH. In 2002, she won the prestigious Newton Lacy Pierce Prize given annually by the American Astronomical Society to an astronomer under the age of 35 for outstanding achievement in observational astronomical research over the past five years. The Mayer award recognizes outstanding achievements by a woman physicist during the early years of her career (no later than ten years after she receives the Ph.D. degree).

For more information about the next Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture, please see