How Galaxies Form
The Milky Way Galaxy is a typical large disc galaxy and can be used as a template for understanding how galaxies form. We can obtain much more detailed information about the stars that make up our Galaxy than we can for more distant galaxies. Stars retain memory of the conditions in which they formed and stars of mass like the Sun live for essentially the age of the Universe. We can thus use old stars nearby to explore the early epochs of galaxy evolution, in complementary way to direct observations of galaxies at high redshift - at large cosmic depth, which show the galaxies in their infancy. How do observations of stars in the Milky Way and in its satellite galaxies shed light on fundamental questions such as the nature of the dark matter that dominates how galaxies form and evolve? And what does it teach us about the masses of newborn stars in the early Universe?
Rosemary F.G. Wyse (The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) is the 2016 Blaauw Professor. She is a world-leading authority on the formation, evolution, structure, and dynamics of our own Milky Way galaxy and its satellites. Her research, leadership, and mentorship have led to her being the recipient of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Dynamical Astronomy’s 2016 Dirk Brouwer Award. She has also won the Annie Jump Cannon award from the American Association of University Women, and she is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Professor Wyse received her PhD from Cambridge University in 1983. She has been on the faculty at The Johns Hopkins University since 1988.
The Kapteyn Astronomical Institute organizes the yearly Blaauw lecture, in collaboration with Studium Generale. This is a lecture by an internationally renowned astronomer which everyone, including the general public, can attend. The Blaauw chair and Blaauw lecture were initiated in 1997 as one of six visiting professorships in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.