My main research interest is in the nuclear regions of active galaxies (Active Galactic Nuclei, AGNs) which I study using very high spatial resolution techniques, such as infrared interferometry and adaptive optics, and with spectroscopy.
AGNs are thought to play a major role in transforming galaxies from gas-rich spiral galaxies to the so called ‘red and dead’ ellipticals, at least in the most luminous galaxies. There is some agreement that ‘AGN feedback’ is important in this transformation as it could push out the molecular gas out of which stars form. However, clear observational evidence for this outflow is very hard to collect, especially at high redshift where this ‘co-evolution’ mostly occurs. In ‘local’ AGNs cosmic evolution does not play a role, but the physical processes in the nuclei can actually be resolved and studied in detail. It is my hope and my ambition that the insights we gain from resolved studies of the AGN phenomenon in the local universe will ultimately provide us with a better understanding of the global evolution of galaxies from the early universe until now.
In mid-November we will be hosting the Lorentz Center workshop “The next generation of thermal-IR astronomy: How can we reach the photon noise limit?”. We will be bringing together a large part of the global thermal-IR community (including experts from Subaru/Comics, Gemini/T-ReCS, VLT/VISIR, UKIRT/Michelle, SOFIA, LBT/LMIRcam, GranTeCan/CanariCam, TAO, VLTI/MATISSE, VLT/NEAR, Gemini-South/TIKI and the next-generation instruments ELT/METIS and TMT/MICHI. After a review of the current instruments, we will look into some specific problems and how to solve them for the next generation instruments. This includes chopping/nodding residuals, drift scanning and an investigation into what timescales are the most relevant for detector, telescope and atmospheric variations. Check out our programme and please get in contact with me if you would like to come!