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Marcin Sawicki
Canada Research Chair in Astronomy


I seek to understand how galaxies formed and evolved when the Universe was only a fraction of its present age. My research is focused through three key projects:

  1. (1)The massive, 200-hour JWST Guaranteed Time Observations CANUCS program that will let us investigate in detail the inner workings of thousands of low-mass galaxies at Cosmic Noon (z~2) and Cosmic Dawn (z>6). Following the successful JWST launch on 25 December 2021, we obtained the first batch of our CANUCS data in October 2022! 

  1. (2)The 68-night CFHT CLAUDS survey that together with affiliated deep surveys from other telescopes lets us use several million galaxies over a wide redshift range to do enormously large statistical studies of the processes that drive galaxy evolution.  CLAUDS is now joined by its newer sibling, DEUS, which aims to cover 10 sq degrees in the Euclid Deep Field North and study how galaxy properties relate to their location within the high-redshift Cosmic Web.

  1. (3)The GIRMOS AO-fed, multi-IFU spectrograph now under construction by a partnership of Canadian institutions, including our team at Saint Mary’s. GIRMOS will let us do detailed, spatially-resolved studies of 100’s of distant galaxies when commissioned at Gemini-North later this decade.

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2023 August 3:  Devin, Master of Science

Today Devin successfully defended his MSc thesis entitled “Investigating Galaxy Size and Mass Growth Through Stellar Halo Assembly Since z~1.1”. 

Devin’s project, co-supervised by Ivana Damjanov and me, uses CLAUDS+HSC data to study how galaxy light profiles, particularly in their outer regions, change over the course of cosmic time.   Conclusion:  outskirts of galaxies grow through mergers.

Well done, Devin!  Next stop: PhD from September!

2023 July 18:  travel, travel, travel

Back from an intense bout of research travel:  CASCA 2023 (giving presentations on the JWST-CANUCS project and planned galaxy evolution surveys with CASTOR);  a visit to the National Centre for Nuclear Research in Warsaw (seminar about JWST-CANUCS); and the European Astronomical Society annual meeting in Krakow (talks about CANUCS at the galaxy evolution session and the gravitational lensing session).  It’s awesome to travel and tell people about the fantastic work our team is doing... but it’s also good to be back home at last.

2023 May 11:  JWST Cycle 2 results are in!

JWST Cycle 2 results are in and our team will be studying the distant Universe through three new projects:  A NIRSpec IFU study of the globular clusters around the z=1.38 Sparkler galaxy;  A NIRCam Technicolor medium band survey in the CLAUDS fields; and a NIRISS project that builds on the public JWST observations of SMACS 0723 (“Webb’s First Deep Field”) to study the assembly of cluster galaxies at z=1.38.

2023 May 9-11:  Speaking about our JWST-based research at the annual meeting of CRAQ

Honoured to be the keynote speaker at the 2023 annual meeting of the Centre de Recherche en astrophysique du Québec.  Of course, my talk is about the discoveries that CANUCS has been making with JWST.

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