Faculty Type: 
Active Faculty
Additional Titles: 
Pritzker University Fellow in Undergraduate Education

Varian Physics
382 Via Pueblo Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-4060

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What happened during the Cosmic Dark Ages?

Professor Church is building experiments to study the first luminous objects in the universe. The Cosmic Dark ages began when the universe cooled sufficiently to form neutral hydrogen, and ended when the first stars and galaxies ionized the hydrogen in the Epoch of Reionization. The first stars created copious amounts of carbon and oxygen, which  combined to form carbon monoxide gas.  This gas can be detected at radio frequencies and is a key tracer of galaxies undergoing large amounts of star-formation.  Church’s work is focused on mapping the large scale distribution of highly-redshifted carbon monoxide, and thus the underlying galaxy distribution during the epoch of reionization in order to understand how galaxies formed and evolved.  Church is also leading the Argus experiment, a 16-pixel radio spectrometer that will be installed on the 100m Green Bank Telescope in late 2014 and that will investigate star formation in nearby galaxies as well as our own.  

Current areas of focus:
- Intensity mapping of carbon monoxide during the EoR
- Radio amplifiers and heterodyne spectroscopy

Career History

  • B.A., Cambridge University 1986 
  • Ph.D., Cambridge University 1991 
  • Research Assistant, University of London 1989-93 
  • Postgraduate Research Physicist, UC Berkeley 1994 
  • Research Fellow, Caltech 1994-97 
  • Senior Research Fellow, Caltech 1997-98 
  • ISO Long Wavelength Spectrometer Consortium Scientist, 1995-1999 
  • Far Infrared Explorer Team, 1994-96 
  • Planck Scientist, 1996-present 
  • Principle Investigator of the QUaD CMB experiment 2002-2009
  • Assistant Professor, Stanford University, 1999-2006
  • Associate Professor, Stanford University, 2006-2012
  • Associate Professor by Courtesy, SLAC, 2006-present
  • Professor of Physics, Stanford University, 2012-present
  • Professor by Courtesy, SLAC, 2012-present
  • Deputy Director, KIPAC, 2007-2011
  • Director Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, 2014-present
  • Pritzker University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, 2014

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