Jeffrey A. Newman

I'm an associate professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh and a member of PITT PACC (the Pittsburgh Particle physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology Center).

I do research on cosmology - the study of the Universe as a whole, its history and contents -  as well as the formation of galaxies and their development over time.  I work primarily with large statistical, “survey” datasets, generally assembled by large teams of astrophysicists.  My current areas of focus include:

  1. CANDELS (the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey), the largest project undertaken on the Hubble Space Telescope to date (with roughly three months of observing time). CANDELS is providing our first comprehensive census of the demographics of galaxies as they were 10-13 billion years in the past, for comparison to those seen today.

  2. eBOSS (the Extended Baryon Oscillation Sky Survey), a component of the upcoming Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV, which begins operations in Summer 2014.  eBOSS will map out the large-scale structure of the Universe traced out by distant galaxies and quasars 5-11 billion years in the past, allowing us to explore the unknown nature of Dark Energy via the Baryon Acoustic Oscillation (BAO) method (see this article I wrote for a “60 second” explanation of the technique written for non-experts).

  3. The proposed DESI (Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument) project, which will use a new instrument on the Mayall Telescope to map out roughly 25 million galaxies with the BAO technique (a ten-fold improvement over eBOSS).

  4.   I am particularly active in preparations for LSST (the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope), which is now under construction (an artist’s conception is at right).  LSST will survey the entire visible sky every few nights for 10 years, revealing what changes from night to night (e.g., asteroids that might hit the Earth, which move across the sky) while simultaneously providing rich information on billions of galaxies, allowing precision studies of dark energy.  In the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration, I serve as co-convener of the Photometric Redshifts Working Group (see our recent white paper on calibration requirements!) and as Deputy Spokesperson (the Spokesperson is the elected leader of a high energy physics collaboration). 



Contact Information:

Electronic mail

janewman AT

U.S. Mail
Jeffrey Newman
University of Pittsburgh
Department of Physics and Astronomy
310 Allen Hall
3941 O'Hara St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

(412) 592-3853

Curriculum Vitae

My most recently published papers

Preprints of my papers

I have produced a publicly available IDL sample variance / cosmic variance calculator, QUICKCV, based on work published in this paper; an updated version has been produced by Ben Moster.

Important links

In January 2012, Timothy Licquia and I presented a new determination of the color of the Milky Way Galaxy we live in. We found that to an observer from another galaxy, our own would appear as a smudge of a nearly pure shade of white.  Our result can be expressed compactly in haiku form:

  1. Look at new spring snow -
    See the River of Heaven
    An hour after dawn.

If you’d like more information see:

  1. The University of Pittsburgh's press release, including images of Milky Way analogs: galaxies that should resemble the one we live in, but as seen from outside.  Images of some of these analogous galaxies -- each a system containing hundreds of billions of stars and planets - are featured at the top of this page.

  2. The slides from my talk about this work (PDF; Powerpoint format is available here).

Images at top of page: Milky Way analogs identified by Timothy Licquia (top); Abhishek Prakash, Timothy Licquia, Dan Matthews, and Jeffrey Newman celebrating Dan’s successful thesis defense (lower left); Jeffrey Newman (lower right).  Image of LSST : Todd Mason, Mason Productions Inc. / LSST Corporation

The Color of the Milky Way

Previously, I worked on the now-completed DEEP2 Galaxy Redshift Survey (the largest project ever undertaken on the world-leading Keck Telescopes), the follow-on DEEP3 Survey, and the AEGIS multiwavelength survey.