Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Christmas Carol

Well, everyone is off but Room 301 (Messers Ross, Bielbly and Sawangwit) are still hard at it with the Boss cracking the whip....

However, results are coming thick and fast. I'm continuing on thinking about the cosmic infrared background, ULIRGs at z~2 and the tie to star-formation/black hole fueling... Meanwhile, coming to a theatre near your in early 2007, Ross et al. 2007a continues to just get better and better.

Also, Bielby (Scarborough) is about to find huge SZ effects that'll bring down WMAP . Superb!

And then it's Vic at 6pm and Ricardos at 6:30pm. What a way to end the year!

So, NPRs Research is off on its hols for a couple of weeks but don't worry loyal readers, we will be returning in the New Year.....

Lots of love and cosmic kisses,

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Done (2).

Dez has printed out and submitted.

I'm off tae join the boys for a celebratory curry and drink... ("the keg is the fridge" ;-)

The Bone was right about something....

Writing postdoc apps really gets the creative juices flowing!!

Been investigating ULIRG clustering today. Fascinating stuff.
Fan et al (2004), Farrah et al. (2006, x2) and the on-going link-in with QSO (Croom et al. 2005) and obviously LRG (Zehavi et al, 2005; Ross et al. 2006) clustering.
Had some really good ideas too for future projects....

I also appreciate now why everyone has been going on about this "wee IR space satellite"!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Done. (1)

Tim has finished his thesis!!

Get in!!!

He came and told me this. And then also said he was bored.

(DJS so so nearly there...)

Good news/Bad News

Good news. I now know (as much as one can in these sort of things) exactly what I need to get done to finish my thesis. Get in. I think it's gonna be a good 'un.

Bad news. For various reasons (e.g. continued job apps!!!!, football, Nozbo baiting*, ULIRG paper reading, going over weak lensing principles, door key logistics, double checking our Groop nite oot, wishing folk off for the Festive Period, blogging) I did nothing today towards this goal.
Ah well.

"72 hours of telescope time, that's an awful lot for a 4m project..."
"Why does Subaru produce four times as many papers as Gemini?"
"Globs, what are they good for exactly?"
and potentially the worst of all...
"Newcastle are crap"

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Some names and numbers

My curosity got the better of me and like a bad cat, I just
couldn't resist....

(NASA ADS statistics, 17th December 2006, 22:15 GMT)

Ross, NP: 1 paper (0 published); 0 cites; 0 normalised cites
Crain, RA: 1 (0); 0; 0
Norris, MA: 1 (1); 3; 1
Bett, P: 1 (0); 4; 1
Geach, JE: 3 (2); 6; 1
Radburn-Smith, DJ: 2 (2); 9; 3
Angulo, R: 1 (1); 18; 3
Harker, G: 1 (1); 29; 6
Libeskind, NI: 3 (3); 32; 5
Frith, WJ: 6 (6); 56; 23
Shanks, T: ~63; 858; 299
Ellis, RS: ~114; 1388; 656
Frenk, CF: ~40; 1643; 521
Smail, IR: ~55; 2249; 529
Cole, SM; ~29; 2614; 794
Peebles, PJE: 178+ papers/booksl; >11970 cites, >10,000 normalised

Notes: ~ implies not just papers but conference proceedings etc.

Anyone else I should include??

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government, 'I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.'

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


IMBHs - The evidence is growing!! (astro-ph paper today here)

Also, the COSMOS team has obviously been scared by my recent Spitzer work in their field and has a host of papers out today as well.

Job apps proceed in earnst!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Job apps

I would think most people would agree that very few things on this tiny wee blue earth are more boring than jobs apps. However, I the world we live in, they are (obviously) vital.

Today/this week is (polishing) job apps week....

Friday, December 08, 2006

An un-refereed paper with nearly 1000 citations...

This unrefereed paper has (as of 15:55 GMT, 12th December 2006) 933 citations.



Durham. Friday.

Crain (Durham) not only kept the high FLT standard up, he pushed the envelope and took it to the limit one more time. The motivation for the current work was wondering what processess, AGN feedback, "gastrophysics" etc., affect properties of dwarf galaxies - those galaxies where the current theoretical LFs still slightly disagree with observations. We were treated to a quick review of this paper and then presented with some new work and adjoining movies. A very recently completed gas dynamic movie showed the formation, re-ionisation and then merger of two dwarfs (galaxies). Sweet. The talk was both stimulating, information and present with the usual Crain panash. Watch out world, this boy's gonna take some stopping.....

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Crikey!! There's been a lot of good stuff going on recently.

First off, the "Water on Mars" story. Obviously, I'm very sceptical bout some dodgey NASA publicity shots (where some grad student has no doubt photoshopped a slightly lighter grey smudge onto a greyscale image, for funding reasons...) but to be honest, Mars most very likely did have a simple compound such as H20 present at some point in its history. This does NOT mean that life is just around the corner though!!!!

Then there was the Wednesday seminar by Kennicutt (IOA) talking about - and showing some spectacular images - from the SINGS Survey. I'll try and get old of some of the sweet ass images in due course but this all tied in v. nicely as an overview and general motivation for the work I've been doing with Spitzer COSMOS data.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Spitzer-COSMOS field

Well, COSMOS team, you may have had all the telescope team, reduced data, expertise, postdocs etc. etc. etc. but (with big thanks to Metcalfe, Norris and Bielby, all Durham ;-) I'm well on your heels. Once I get the Geachbo in on this, all that effort may have been for nothing.... hee hee hee

(finally) bearing fruits....

(What I think is) another really nice 2SLAQ paper got posted to astro-ph Monday.

Check out Sadler et al. and quoting the last sentence of the abstract, "the evolution seen in the low-power radio-galaxy population implies that the total energy input into massive early-type galaxies from AGN heating increases with redshift, and was roughly 50% higher at z~0.55 (and up to a factor of two higher at z~1) than in the local universe."

i.e. AGN-galaxy feedback models beware!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

What's wrong with advertising??

Sunday, December 03, 2006

"Together we can observe/model the galaxy!"

Once again this weeks FLTs (Friday Lunchtime Talks) continued the trend of high quality presentations of which there have been several lately and that I've got used to in the XGal Group at Durham.

Geach (Durham) gave a very sexy little number on "Exploring the z > 1 Universe with WFCAM near-IR narrowband surveys", essentially describing how with a sleak H2S1 narrow-band filter, his team is going after a nice big sample of z~2.2 galaxies in the COSMOS and Subaru Deep Fields via locating H-alpha. Very nice. There was claims also for potentially discovering z~9 galaxies (since this is where Ly-alpha would fall in their narrow-band) but with a K-band limiting magnitude of "only" 20.5, I wasn't sure how this was going to work unless lensing comes into play again (which of course this lot are world experts!).

Almeida's (Durham) talk I was really looking forward to as it was on "The properties of Luminous Red Galaxies in hierarchical galaxy formation model". Superb! Essentially Almeida has run simulations with GALFORM using two different models. There is the Baugh et al. (2005) model (with top-heavy IMFs among its many features) and the Bower et al. (2006) model (with AGN feedback incorporated). These two models predict a wide range of galaxy properties and they can be compared to those observed from the SDSS at z~0.24 (see eg the v. nice paper by Barber et al. ) and then at redshift z~0.5 (where good ol' 2SLAQ is in its prime).

For me, the bottom line is this. Both models do a pretty good job on most properties (e.g. Luminosity functions, stellar mass, ages) with the Baugh model probably being "truer" to real life. A couple of properties, metalicity and for me, the z~0.5 clustering don't quite seem to completely line up, but the reproduction tio the Masjedi et al. (2006) result is mega-impressive. This suggests that there is/can be more than one LRG per halo.
The theoretical sizes seems to give the biggest headache for these models as the sizes of the simlutaed galaxies are still (substantially) underestimated. All in all, when this gets polished off and finished, I think it's gonna be a VERY nice piece of work. BTW, this all still fits in with the "the most massive galaxies formed early on and have done v. little since" idea which I'm now (along with many others) convinced by.

On a more general note, the continued "Observers vs. Theory" rhetoric sometimes pisses me off - and each side is as bad as the other. Lucey (Durham) is one of the main protaginists for the "the theorists just fiddle their models to get the right answer" while comments such as those from Frenk (Durham) of "the simulations will tell you the right answer" is equally as annoying! Surely it's the synergy between observation and theory (and instrumentation) that make the group at Durham so powerful. Baugh, Almeida, Wake and myself have greatly benefitted from the discussions from both sides of the aisle.

Finally, on much more mundane methods, I re-submitted Ross et al. on Friday (yay!), though did not post to astro-ph as intended (boo!). The refs comments and suggestions have ended up being v. helpful and hoepfully have turned a good paper in to a great one (tee hee hee!! ;-)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Class A drugs

A great philosopher once wrote
Naughty, naughty, very naughty
Ha ha ha ha ha

There's a guy in the place
He's got a bittersweet face
And he goes by the name of Ebeneezer Goode
His friends call him Eezer and he is the main geezer
And he'll vibe about the place like no other man could
He's refined, he's sublime, he makes you feel fine
Though very much maligned and misunderstood
But if you know Eezer he's a real crowd pleaser
He's ever so good, he's Ebeneezer Goode
You can see that he's mischievious, mysterious and devious
When he circulates amongst the people in the place
But once you know he's fun and something of a genius
He gives a grin that goes around from face to face to face
Backwards and then forwards, forwards and then backwards
Eezer is the geezer who loves to muscle in
That's about the time the crowd all shout the name of Eezer
As he's kotcheled in the corner, laughing by the bass bin

Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode
He's Ebeneezer Goode
Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode
He's Ebeneezer Goode
Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode
He's Ebeneezer Goode
Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode
He's Ebeneezer Goode
He's Ebeneezer Goode

Has anybody got any veras
Ha ha ha ha ha
Ha ha ha ha ha

A great philosopher once wrote
Naughty, naughty, very naughty
Ha ha ha ha ha

Ebeneezer Goode, leading light of the scene
Know what I mean, see
He created the vibe
He takes you for a ride and as if by design
The party ignites like he's comin alive
He takes you to the top, shakes you all around
Then back down, you know as he gets mellow
Then as smooth as the groove that is making you move
He glides into your mind with a sunny Hello
A gentleman of leisure, he's there for your pleasure
But go easy on old Eezer he's the love you could lose
Extraordinary fellow, like Mr. Punchinello
He's the kind of geezer who must never be abused
When you're in town and Ebeneezer is around
You can sense a presence in the sound of the crowd
He gets them all at it, the party starts rocking
The people get excited it's time to shout loud