Christmas Lecture: Galaxy Evolution and Transformation Across the Cosmic Epochs – Prof. Roberto Maiolino

December 8, 2018 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Willingdon Memorial Hall
Church St
Eastbourne BN20 9HT

Title: Christmas Lecture: Galaxy Evolution and Transformation Across the Cosmic Epochs – Roberto Maiolino (Professor of Experimental Astrophysics & Director of the Kavil Institute for Cosmology Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge)


Galaxies are fascinating systems in which stars form and evolve, and which are also subject to dramatic events such as the violent expulsion of matter by supermassive black holes and collisions with other galaxies. The lecture will give an overview of our current understanding of the early phases of galaxy formation in the primeval Universe and of the processes that have transformed galaxies across the cosmic epochs. The lecture will also briefly illustrate some of the major telescopes and facilities that are being used in this field and the prospect of major progress with the next generation of instruments and observatories.

Biographical details

Roberto Maiolino is Professor of Experimental Astrophysics at the Cavendish Laboratory (Department of Physics) of the University of Cambridge and Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmology (KICC). He received an MS in Physics from the University of Florence in 1992 and a PhD in Astronomy also from the University of Florence in 1996. During his PhD studies he worked on the characterization of active galactic nuclei (AGN) host galaxies, at the Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona as a visiting scholar. From 1995 to 1997 he was a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, in Garching (Munich). From 1997 to 2006 he was an astronomer at the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory (Florence) and then, from 2006 to 2012, he was an astronomer at the Astronomical Observatory of Rome, prior to his appointment at the University of Cambridge. On 10 June 2018 he was made a Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy (cavaliere OSI), in recognition of his work to promote British–Italian relations in the field of science through his teaching at universities and his research.

Research interests

Roberto Maiolino is active in various areas of extragalactic astronomy, and in particular in the observational investigation of galaxy formation and galaxy–black hole coevolution. In recent years he has focused on the investigation of the chemical evolution of galaxies and of the intergalactic medium, the evolution of the gas and dust content in galaxies, the characterization of primeval galaxies in the early Universe, and the interplay between black hole accretion (quasar activity) and galaxy evolution. He exploits multi-wavelength observations obtained at some of the major telescopes and observatories, such as the ESO Very Large Telescope, the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array and the Herschel Space Observatory.

He is a member of the Instrument Science Team of NIRSpec, the near infrared multi-object spectrograph for the James Webb Space Telescope, and a Project Scientist of MOONS, the Multi-Object near-IR spectrograph for the Very Large Telescope.