A new Emmy Noether junior research group has taken up its work at the Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University (ZAH) investigating the cycle of matter in nearby galaxies. The research team under the direction of Dr Kathryn Kreckel is exploring the processes involved in the transformation of gas into stars as well as the "recycling" of stellar material in the next generation of stars. Over the next six years, the physicist will receive funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) totalling approximately two million euros.
Using special methods of observation, Dr Kreckel is analysing the origins and properties of radiation sources responsible for the ionisation of interstellar gases. "These processes take place on small scales. Our goal is to link them with the development of galaxies on large scales," explains Dr Kreckel. For their work, the research group is using images and data from various telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope and European Southern Observatory facilities in Chile, such as the "Very Large Telescope" or the "Atacama Large Millimeter Array". Dr Kreckel’s "Baryonic Life Cycle Group" is located at the Institute for Astronomical Computing, which is part of the ZAH.
Kathryn Kreckel studied mathematics and astronomy at the University of California in Berkeley (USA) and Columbia University in New York (USA), where she earned her doctorate in 2011. She then worked at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg as a postdoc, before joining Heidelberg University in 2019. Her main areas of research are the formation and evolution of galaxies, and the physics of the interstellar medium.
The Emmy Noether Programme of the German Research Foundation affords particularly qualified young researchers the opportunity to qualify for a university professorship over a six-year period during which they lead their own independent junior research group.