Two Subaru Telescope Users Receive 2023 MEXT Science and Technology Commendations | Topics and announcements

Two promising astronomers have received the 2023 Young Scientists Award of Commendations for Science and Technology from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) for their observational research at the using the Subaru Telescope. The winners are Dr. Hideki Umehata (Assistant Professor at the University of Nagoya) and Dr. Yuichi Harikane (Assistant Professor at the University of Tokyo).

The Young Scientists Prize is awarded to researchers under the age of 40 (or 42 if the researcher has not been able to devote himself to research for a certain period of time due to childbirth or childcare ) who have done outstanding research. Dr. Umehata was awarded for his “research on cosmic web filaments connecting active galaxies in a protocluster”, while Dr. Harikane was awarded for his “research on distant galaxies using large datasets of observation of the Subaru telescope and other telescopes”.

Dr. Umehata made observations using the Subaru Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), to study the formation and evolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes at the nodes of the large structure. scale of the Universe 11.5 billion years ago. . In particular, using the Suprime-Cam wide-field camera on the Subaru telescope, he discovered a vast structure of hydrogen gas connecting massive galaxies and supermassive black holes, confirming the existence of “web” filaments cosmic” that had long been predicted by theory and simulations (Note 1). These results suggest that gas supply through the cosmic web plays a crucial role in fueling the high activity of massive galaxies and supermassive black holes in the early Universe.

Figure 1: Dr. Hideki Umehata (Assistant Professor at Nagoya University), who received the Young Scientists Award. (Credit: Nagoya University)

“I am delighted and honored to receive such a wonderful award,” said Dr. Umehata. “I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all who were involved in this research, including my fellow collaborators. In this study, the data obtained by Suprime-Cam played an important role in the discovery of the web Now, using its successor, Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC), we are exploring larger structures in the Cosmic Web. With the upcoming launch of PFS (Prime Focus Spectrograph) and leveraging the strengths of the Subaru Telescope, i aspires to continue to advance the studies of the early Universe.”

Dr. Harikane focused on observational research of distant galaxies and led the analysis of large observational datasets from the Subaru Telescope to construct the world’s largest sample of distant galaxies, consisting of 4 million objects , in the Universe 10 to 13 billion years ago, which had not been studied in detail before. It also answered the long-standing question about the physical origins of the star formation history of the entire Universe and identified a primordial galaxy cluster 13 billion years ago, the most distant ever recorded. at the time (Note 2). While making several important discoveries, he led the field of observation of distant galaxies. He has also led teams of international researchers and has been awarded multiple observing times on competitive telescopes such as NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Year One Operating Program and ALMA.

Figure 2: Dr. Yuichi Harikane (assistant professor at the University of Tokyo), who received the Young Scientists Award. (Credit: Cosmic Ray Research Institute, University of Tokyo)

On receiving the award, Dr Harikane said, “I am honored to receive such a prestigious award this time. Research using Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) on the Subaru Telescope, which is recognized by the award, could not have been carried out. without the support of NAOJ researchers, who contributed to the development and operation of the HSC and the Subaru Telescope. I would like to express my gratitude to all my co-investigators and to all who participated in the Subaru Telescope and the HSC. I look forward to further developing our research with PFS. I hope to have fun leading cutting-edge research projects.”

Dr. Harikane comments on the role of the Subaru Telescope in their study of the early universe: “The Subaru Telescope is equipped with unique wide-field cameras not found on other 8-meter class telescopes. Thanks to their wide field capabilities, Dr. Umehata and I succeeded in constructing a very large sample of galaxies, discovering a cluster of rare primeval galaxies, and exploring the cosmic web in the early Universe.From these observations, we found that the relationship between galaxies and gas in the large-scale structure of the universe has played an important role in the formation and evolution of galaxies. For the future, we have high expectations that observations with the next PFS , along with the next generation Thirty Meter Telescope, will reveal the physical properties of individual galaxies and shed light on galaxy formation in the early Universe.”

(Note 1) Massive filaments fuel the growth of galaxies and supermassive black holes (Subaru Telescope, press release October 3, 2019)

(Note 2) Oldest Galaxy Protocluster Forms “Queen’s Court” (Subaru Telescope, September 26, 2019 press release)

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