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Michael Wood-Vasey

Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Pittsburgh
Curriculum Vitae and Publications

Observational Cosmology and Fundamental Physics

My research focuses on discovering the nature of the dark energy currently accelerating the expansion rate of the Universe. I use the tools of observational astronomy to address this question of fundamental physics. The currently most successful probe of the kinematics of the Universe over the past 10 billion years has involved the use of Type Ia supernovae (SNeIa) to measure the evolution of luminosity distance vs. redshift (Riess98, Perlmutter99). I have been involved in the effort to constrain the nature of dark energy through measurements of the equation-of-state parameter of the dark energy, w=pressure/density (Wood-Vasey08). This is a field where the observations are clearly far out in front of theory and thus call for investigation by multiple pathways to confirm the observational results and explore new areas to provide further guidance for the hope of an eventually theoretical explanation for dark energy that quantitative predicts its observed behavior today.

In the immediate future I am involved in ongoing studies of SNeIa in the near-infrared to improve our ability to measure distances in the Universe. Looking toward the future, I am leading efforts to maximize the SNIa cosmological science from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which will be the major ground-based optical effort in operation during 2020-2030.

The general technical theme of my research work is moving into the next generation of time-domain astronomy where we will be analyzing large data sets using sophisticated databases and to ask new kinds of questions as we continue our exploration of the Universe.


Public Talk

Public talk given 2013 November 15 at Allegheny Observatory -- includes links to the movies shown during the lecture.

Research Projects

SN 2006D H-band IR Hubble Diagram

Past Research

Teaching and Outreach

  University of Pittsburgh

  Outreach and Press

First- and Second-Author Papers

  1. The First Data Release from SweetSpot: 74 Supernovae in 36 Nights on WIYN+WHIRC   [ADS]
    A. Weyant, W. M. Wood-VAsey, R. Joyce, L. Allen, P. Garnavich, S. W. Jha, J. R. Kroboth, T. Matheson, K. A. Ponder arXiv:1703.02402

  2. Incorporating Astrophysical Systematics into a Generalized Likelihood for Cosmology with Type Ia Supernovae   [ADS]
    K. Ponder, W. M. Wood-Vasey, A. R. Zentner ApJ, 2016, Vol 825, 35.

  3. CfAIR2: Near Infrared Light Curves of 94 Type Ia Supernovae.   [ADS]
    Friedman, A. S.; W. M. Wood-Vasey et al. ApJS, 2015, Vol 220, 9.

  4. SweetSpot: Near-Infrared Observations of Thirteen Type Ia Supernovae from a New NOAO Survey Probing the Nearby Smooth Hubble Flow   [ADS]
    A. Weyant, W. M. Wood-Vasey, L. Allen, P. M. Garnavich, S. W. Jha, R. Joyce, T. Matheson ApJ, 2014, Vol 784, 105.

  5. Likelihood-Free Cosmological Inference with Type Ia Supernovae: Approximate Bayesian Computation for a Complete Treatment of Uncertainty   [ADS] A. Weyant, C. Schafer, and W. M. Wood-Vasey. ApJ, 2013, Vol 764, 116.
  6. An Unbiased Method of Modeling the Local Peculiar Velocity Field with Type Ia Supernovae   [ADS]
    A. Weyant, W. M. Wood-Vasey, L. Wasserman, P. Freeman. ApJ, 2011, Vol 732, Issue 1, p. 65.

  7. Type Ia Supernova Light-Curve Inference: Hierarchical Bayesian Analysis in the Near-Infrared   [ADS]
    K. S. Mandel, W. M. Wood-Vasey et al. ApJ, 2009, Vol 704, Issue 1, pp. 629-651.

  8. Improved Dark Energy Constraints from ~100 New CfA Supernova Type Ia Light Curves   [ADS]
    M. Hicken, W. M. Wood-Vasey et al. ApJ, 2009, Vol 702, Issue 2, pp. 1097-1140.

  9. Type Ia Supernovae are Good Standard Candles in the Near Infrared: Evidence from PAIRITEL   [PDF]  [ADS]  astro-ph/0711.2068
    W. M. Wood-Vasey et al. ApJ, 2008, Vol 689, Issue 1, pp. 377-390.

  10. Observational Constraints on the Nature of Dark Energy: First Cosmological Results from the ESSENCE Supernova Survey  [PDF] [ADS] astro-ph/0701041
    W. M. Wood-Vasey et al. ApJ, 2007, Vol 666, Issue 2, pp. 694-715.
    Supplemental information available at http://www.ctio.noao.edu/essence/wresults.

  11. Novae as a Mechanism for Producing Cavities around the Progenitors of SN 2002ic and Other SNe Ia  [ADS] astro-ph/0605635
    W. M. Wood-Vasey and J. L. Sokoloski. ApJL, 2006, Vol 645, pp. L53-L56.

  12. Photometry of SN 2002ic and Implications for the Progenitor Mass-Loss History  [ADS] astro-ph/0406191
    W. M. Wood-Vasey, L. Wang, G. Aldering. ApJ, 2004, Vol. 616, pp. 339-345.
    DOI: 10.1086/424826

  13. The Nearby Supernova Factory [PDF] [PS] [ADS] astro-ph/0401513
    W. M. Wood-Vasey, G. Aldering, B. C. Lee, S. Loken, P. Nugent, S. Perlmutter, J. Siegrist, L. Wang, P. Antilogus, P. Astier, D. din, R. Pain, Y. Copin, G. Smadja, E. Gangler, A. Castera, G. Adam, R. Bacon, J-P. Lemonnier, A. Pecontal, E. Pecontal, R. Kessler. Conference proceedings for Workshop on Supernovae and Dust held in Paris, France, 16-17 May, 2003.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.newar.2003.12.056

  14. Computational Modeling of Classical and Ablative Rayleigh-Taylor Instabilities [PDF] [PS]
    W. M. Wood-Vasey, K. S. Budil, B. A. Remington, S. G. Glendinning, A. M. Rubenchik, M. Berning, J. O. Kane, and J. T. Larsen. Lasers and Particle Beams, 2000, Vol. 18, Issue 04, pp. 583-593.


All Publications

MWV Group Theses and Dissertations

Michael Wood-Vasey

Last modified: Fri Feb 13 09:27:00 EST 2008

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