Professor Nelson's research program is centered around galaxy formation and evolution: understanding how the Universe evolved from its uniform state shortly after the Big Bang to the rich diversity of galaxies we see today. She uses cutting-edge observational techniques and cosmological hydrodynamical simulations to understand the physical processes that drive the the structural and kinematic evolution of galaxies and how star formation is regulated. These two fundamental processes in turn provide the strong constraints on theoretical models of galaxy formation. She is heavily involved in the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope which will act as time machine to see the formation of the first galaxies near the beginning of cosmic history.
Galaxy formation, galaxy evolution, galaxy structures and kinematics, star formation, stellar populations, early universe, high redshift, first galaxies, observations, simulations, James Webb Space Telescope, supermassive black holes
ASTR 1040 - Accelerated Introductory Astronomy 2
Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022
Covers principles of modern astronomy summarizing our present knowledge about the Sun, stars, birth and death of stars, neutron stars, black holes, galaxies, quasars, and the organization and origins of the universe. May require nighttime observing sessions at Sommers-Bausch Observatory. Required in ASTR major/minor. Includes a recitation. Taught at a higher intellectual level including a significant amount of quantitative analysis. Same as ASTR 1020 and ASTR 1200.
ASTR 5720 - Galaxies
Highlights the classification, structure, content, dynamics, and other observational properties of galaxies, active galaxies, and clusters of galaxies. Discusses Hubble's Law, the cosmic distance scale,and the intergalactic medium. Department enforced prerequisite: senior level undergraduate physics.