The Growth and Transformation of Galaxies Over Cosmic Time

Wren Suess(UC Berkeley)

Dec 14, 2020

Deep surveys have allowed us to chart the evolution of galaxies from billions of years ago through to the present day with unprecedented precision. We’ve learned that the properties of both star-forming and quiescent galaxies— including stellar masses, structures, star formation rates, gas content, and kinematics— change dramatically with redshift. Despite this progress, several key questions remain unsolved in our current view of galaxy evolution. We still don’t understand how galaxies grow over cosmic time, or what physical mechanisms are responsible for shutting down star formation and creating the bimodality between star-forming and quiescent galaxies. In this talk, I’ll discuss how new insights from color gradients and half-mass radii have changed our view of galaxy growth, provide insights into how galaxies quench, and show the need to move beyond a bimodal picture of galaxy evolution. Finally, I’ll show that studying the molecular gas reservoirs and star-formation histories of recently-quenched galaxies can provide clues to the mechanisms responsible for quenching star formation in galaxies.

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