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Physics & Astronomy Colloquium – Spring 2022 – Svea Hernandez
March 2 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Speaker: Svea Hernandez (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Title: Uncovering the History of Galaxies and Metals by Exploiting the Power of Nearby Laboratories
Abstract: Precise metallicities and chemical abundances of the different components in galaxies are critical for understanding galaxy formation, feedback and interstellar/intergalactic chemical enrichment. I take advantage of the unique FUV spectroscopic capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope, and complement our space observations with those from several ground-based telescopes to investigate a sample of local galaxies, which span a wide range in morphological types, metallicities and star formation rates. The results from my metallicity studies of nearby (< 50 Mpc) galaxies will be discussed with a dedicated focus on their stellar, neutral-gas, and ionized-gas components. Furthermore, I will show how using spectroscopic observations of star clusters and their nearby gas allows us to observe the chemical evolution of galaxies through a much larger window in both space and time. Lastly, I will introduce my forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope program, which will obtain IFU spectroscopy to dissect a key ingredient in the recipe for star formation: molecular gas. I will close with a brief discussion on the implications these data will have in the understanding of the processes that drive the evolution of galaxies.