In order to understand how galaxies form and evolve, we need to conduct detailed studies up to high look-back times (high redshift), gathering large and robust samples of galaxies over representative volumes. In the last couple of years, I have derived the largest samples of distant star-forming galaxies and detailed their nature at z~1 (about 6 Gyrs ago). As a Veni Fellow, I will extend my detailed work to much higher and truly key look-back times (6 to 12 Gyrs ago, in thin narrow slices so that evolution can be clearly measured), where most stars and galaxies formed but where current studies truly lack the sample size, robustness and/or volume. I will also derive the largest samples of very distant z~7-9 galaxies and conduct detailed follow-up observations on the most luminous sources for the first time. My aim is to use the state-of-the-art instrumentation in the best telescopes, combine them with my experience and strong international collaborations to produce a robust and detailed observationally-based picture of how, when and by which mechanisms galaxies form and evolve, from the epoch of reionization to the peak of the star formation history of the Universe.
Project funded by NWO, Netherlands
1 September 2012
31 August 2015