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Aaron Evans

BS, Michigan Astro ’90 | Associate Professor, University of Virginia & Associate Astronomer, NRAO (ALMA)

His Story: Aaron Evans recalls first being captivated by astronomy at age eight, when he picked up a National Geographic feature on how scientists from Newton to Hubble exploited instruments to explore our universe. His interest never wavered. He chose U-M based on its strength in the field and his love for Ann Arbor. Aaron went on to a PhD at the University of Hawaii, followed by a postdoc at Caltech. After being tenured at Stony Brook University, he accepted a position in 2008 at the University of Virginia and NRAO, where he has a unique position as a half-time professor and half-time astronomer with the North American ALMA Science Center.

Favorite Undergrad Experience: Doing research from freshman year (building a database of stars’ spectra and working to extract science from it) and interacting with graduate students who are now close collaborators and key players in the field.

"As an undergraduate doing research, I really got to know the grad students. Some of them are still my closest collaborators today.”

— Aaron Evans

Current Work: Aaron is interested in star formation in galaxies that host large, active central black holes, and is known for his work confirming the presence of rich supplies of gas within them. He also does multi-wavelength observations of interacting galaxies. His role with ALMA involves helping the astronomical community make best use of the telescope, and he is excited by how this will inform his research. In particular, he’s eager to use the array’s unprecedented sensitivity and resolution to probe star formation in the early universe and to clarify the role star formation plays relative to black-hole activity in the energy output of galaxies. During the summers, he’s also working to make the field more accessible to minorities by hosting undergraduates from Howard University’s new astronomy program on his research projects.