Professor Emeritus of Astronomy
Galaxies at Cosmological Distances
My research activities are primarily in studies of galactic evolution and the physical constitution of comets. In the first area, I devote most of my effort, in collaboration with one or two graduate students, to a long-term study of the cosmic-time evolution of radio and normal galaxies. Students and I use the Keck and the Lick Observatory telescopes to successfully obtain spectra of galaxies to optical magnitude 25. That can take us more than 90% of the way back toward the creation event, as we now routinely deal with normal galaxies at Z=5. My studies of cometary constitution make use of ground-based optical measures of their nuclei and surrounding gaseous halos. In particular, the quantitative measurement of the production rates of the volatile molecular species evaporated from the cometary snows should give clues to the overall chemical makeup of cometary bodies, which have been in the cosmic deep-freeze far from the sun for almost 4.5 billion years.
Hyron Spinrad was born in New York in 1934. He received his B.A. and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and has been on the faculty here since 1968. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.