Thesis Topic: Disentangling galaxy formation: the evolution of bulges and disks
Thesis Supervisor: Jochen Liske
The formation and evolution of massive galaxies is intimately linked to the evolution of their internal structures. Almost all of the stellar mass in today's universe is found in large elliptical or spiral galaxies like our own Milky Way. These are essentially composed of only two structurally distinct stellar components - disks and spheroids. In addition, in virtually all theories of galaxy formation the fundamental differentiation is that between disks and spheroids and the models' predictions are coined in terms of these components.
Despite their relevance and although much has been discovered about the evolution of galaxies, only little is known about the evolution of galaxy components. The aim of this project is to trace the evolution of the luminosity and stellar mass functions of spheroids and disks separately over the past 7 billion years. These data will essentially represent an entirely new type of observation with which to confront models of galaxy formation and evolution.
The data for this project will be supplied by the new generation of wide-field survey telescopes and instruments as well as by the Hubble Space Telescope and ESO's Very Large Telescope. In particular this PhD project will be part of the larger international GAMA survey project (see http://www.eso.org/~jliske/gama). During the course of his/her PhD, the student will be introduced to a range of topics, including galaxy formation and evolution, galaxy structure and dynamics, stellar evolution, and wide-field imaging and spectroscopic surveys. In addition, the student will be taught about the fundamentals of data reduction, galaxy surface photometry, the interpretation of galaxy spectra, automated redshift measurements, morphological classification, photometric redshifts, numerical methods, and the construction, use and management of large databases. Finally, the student will have the opportunity to participate in the observing for GAMA.