2022-2023 Polyani Prize in Physics
By leveraging the study of astrophysics, statistics and computer science, Dr. Joshua Speagle is developing new statistical techniques to create a high-resolution 3-D map of the Milky Way, as well as create new machine learning methods that will help accelerate data processing. This map will be critical in helping scientists and astronomers better visualize the galaxy and understand its past, present, and future.
To do this, Dr. Speagle is focusing his research on collecting two types of data – interstellar gas and the chemical composition of older stars. The former will provide insight into where new stars are being born and the latter will help determine how stars migrate to new locations across the galaxy.
Additionally, this research will help shed light on what makes the formation of the Milky Way unique to other galaxies and provide insight into how other galaxies have formed – helping paint a picture of what the future of the universe might look like.