“The First Steps of Galaxy Evolution” with Karina Caputi (University of Groningen, NL)

A few hundred million years after the Big Bang, the first galaxies formed in the Universe. The detection of such galaxies is very challenging, not only because they are very distant, but also because at that time the Universe was opaque to ultraviolet radiation. Only after the Universe became transparent, in the so-called ‘epoch of reionization’, galaxies became more easily observable and since then galaxy evolution can be studied in full detail. In this talk the speaker will review the current, still rudimentary knowledge of the early stages of galaxy formation and growth, which is based on theoretical predictions and limited observations of distant galaxies. She will discuss how the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope is expected to revolutionise this field of Astronomy by being able to peer into the epoch of reionization and reveal the very first steps of galaxy evolution.

Karina Caputi is Professor of Observational Cosmology and High-Redshift Galaxies at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen (The Netherlands). She studied Physics at the Instituto Balseiro, in Bariloche, Argentina, and then did a PhD in Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh (UK). After graduating, she worked as Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale in Orsay (France) and at the ET Zurich. She was later on a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. In 2012, she joined the University of Groningen where she has worked ever since. Karina Caputi is member of the JWST/MIRI European Science Consortium and is also involved in the scientific preparation for the Euclid space telescope. Her work has been recognised by some prestigious grants and awards. Most notably, she received an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2015 and more recently (in 2022) a Vici Grant from the Dutch Research Council.

Webinar was recorded on October 13, 2022