July 13th, 2012
I started as a professor at the University of Wyoming in the fall of 2002, a decade ago. Since then I’ve published a lot of papers and brought in a lot of grant money, as well as taught a lot of classes. There’s still one thing I’ve never done before: mentored a PhD student to completion.
That changes today. My student Sabrina Cales is defending her thesis this afternoon. Wish her luck (although getting a doctorate is not luck at all).
“Understanding Post-Starburst Quasars”, S. L. Cales, Friday the 13th of July at 2pm in the Prowse Room (PS234)
Post-starburst quasars (PSQs) are an interesting type of hybrid galaxy that harbor both a post-starburst stellar population and luminous AGN. The starburst is hundreds of millions of years old with a mass on the order of 10 billion solar masses. This type of hybrid galaxy provides a natural breading ground for studying the role active galactic nuclei (AGN) play in galaxy evolution (i.e., the black hole mass-galaxy bulge mass relation). My thesis work has centered on testing the idea that, at z~0.3, PSQs are a phase in the life of galaxies triggered by external events (e.g., mergers, tidal interactions) or whether they are a more heterogeneous population in which multiple mechanisms can contribute to the class (i.e., external events and internal processes). This project is devoted to understanding the properties of PSQs and is comprised of three sub-projects: (i) two-dimensional image analysis with HST imaging and characterization of PSQ morphologies, (ii) determination of stellar population ages and masses and quasar black hole masses and accretion rates via spectral modeling of Keck and KPNO spectroscopy, (iii) comparisons of PSQ properties with other galaxy types and models. Finally, I briefly outline my conclusions in the context of AGN/galaxy evolution.
And when it rains, it pours. My second PhD student, Micheal DiPompeo, will be defending his dissertation on broad absorption line quasars this coming Wednesday!
They’ve both done well and have excellent post-doc positions awaiting them.
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