January 5, 2001
Colloquium Speaker: Alexander Szalay
Professor Alexander Szalay is the Alumni Centennial Professor of Astronomy in the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics & Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University. He is a cosmologist, working on the spatial distributions of galaxies and galaxy formation. He was born and educated in Hungary. After graduation he spent postdoctoral periods at UC Berkeley and the University of Chicago, before accepting a faculty position at Johns Hopkins. In 1990 he was elected to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The Cosmic Genome Project: The Sloan Digital Sky Survey will digitally map about half of the northern sky in five filter bands from the ultraviolet to the near infrared. It will detect over 200 million objects and will separately acquire spectra, sufficient to determine distances for the brightest million galaxies, for 100,000 quasars, and for a somewhat lesser number of special sources. The survey has just begun, and will last over 5 years. It is now clear that SDSS and other surveys will revolutionize astronomy. The project archives of the SDSS will be over 40 Terabytes and complex, containing textual information, derived parameters, multi-band images, spectra, and time-series data. The catalog of this "Cosmic Genome Project" will be used for the next several decades as the standard reference to study the evolution of the universe.