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Dr David Sobral SFHEA

Formerly at Lancaster University

David Sobral

Office Hours:

Friday, 10-11am + e-mail and open door policy

Research overview

I conduct a wide range of observations at various wavelengths and use the best telescopes in the world (and in space) in order to understand how galaxies like our own Milky-Way formed and evolved from the primitive Universe till today. See my research webpage. I discover and study some of the most distant, early galaxies and anyone can try to find distant galaxies with the same data that we use! Watch some of the videos explaining the research I do in my XGAL youtube channelMost of my research is done by conducting and exploring some of the largest/widest narrow-band surveys ever done, particularly for sources with emission lines which result from either very hot, young stars, or super-massive black holes. Due to the uniform and self-consistent selection, galaxies found with the narrow-band technique across cosmic time are ideal to understand how they have changed accross cosmic time, but also to conduct detailed follow-up studies that can really unveil the physics and nature of distant sources. See my Google Scholar page or my ADS list of all my publications and my CV here.

I provide a range of opportunities for students to experience and share state-of-the-art research, particularly by running the XGAL internships: https://xgalweb.wordpress.com. Since 2016, I have been able to take 3-5 students/year to observe in professional telescopes in La Palma: know more about it here. I also run the Astrophysics group project (PHYS369) in which students report on their research experiences and get their results published in our journal Notices of Lancaster University Astrophysics, NLUAstro (Freely available).


New for 2020: check out my XGAL youtube channel with Astronomy talk shows about the gas giants, dark matter, dark energy, galaxies, near and very far, galaxy clusters, super-massive black holes, super-active galaxies, galaxy archeology, globular clusters and how it was to discover the CR7 and other galaxies.

PhD supervision

Get in touch to discuss projects

Current Teaching

  • PHYS111: Functions and Differentiation (2016--)
  • PHYS263: Astronomy (2016--)
  • PHYS264: Astrophysics I (2017-2018)
  • PHYS369: Observational Astrophysics group project (2018--)

Research Interests

Galaxy formation and evolution; Emission-line galaxies; High-redshift galaxies; Re-ionisation of the Universe; The star formation history of the Universe; Hot/massive stars; Super-massive black holes

Web Links

Research Grants

  • Observational Astrophysics PATT grant (2018-2020)
  • Observational Astrophysics PATT grant (2016-2018)
  • NWO VENI grant (2012-2016): "From the First Galaxies to the Peak of the Star Formation History"
  • FCT Starting grant (2013-2015)

PhD Supervisions Completed

  • Dr. Andra Stroe (2015, Leiden University, co-supervision). Currently: CfA Clay fellowship at the Harvard-Smithsonian (previously: ESO fellow), U.S.A.
  • Dr. Behnam Darvish (2015, University of California Riverside, co-supervision). Currently a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), U.S.A.
  • Dr. Jorryt Matthee (2018, MERAC prize for best thesis in Observational Astrophysics & IAU prize). Currently: Zwicky Prize Fellow at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
  • Dr. Ali Khostovan (2018). Currently: NASA NPP Fellow at NASA Goddard, U.S.A.
  • Dr. Ana Paulino-Afonso (2019). Currently: Postdoctoral fellow at Lisbon University.
  • Dr. João Calhau (2020).
  • Dr. Sérgio Santos (2020).

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