James Lowenthal


Photo of Large Millimeter Telescope
The Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) on Sierra Negra, Mexico

How do galaxies form and evolve? The techniques I use to address that question all involve observing distant galaxies -- so distant that the light we observe from them has been traveling for billions of years, sometimes more than 90% of the age of the Universe. This means we are looking back in cosmic time and seeing the galaxies as they appeared when they were "adolescents" or even "babies", shortly after the Big Bang. Light from such distant galaxies is very faint, and observing them requires using some of the largest telescopes in the world, such as Keck, Hubble, Spitzer, and the LMT.

Research Areas

I focus on research projects in these fields:

  • High redshift galaxies
  • Millimeter and submillimeter galaxies (SMGs)
  • Lyman break galaxies
  • Starburst galaxies
  • Damped Lyman-alpha absorption systems (DLAs)

With students at Smith I also study exoplanets -- planets orbiting stars other than our Sun -- using our own 16" telescope. Here is one of the exoplanet transit light curves we submitted to the Exoplanet Transit Database.

My complete list of publications is available here.