Clusters of galaxies are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe and they carry a lot of interesting information about gravity, the universe, and the galaxies within them.
Antonella is working on weighing galaxy clusters using the light from clusters galaxy members that we see through DES data. She studies how much mass in clusters ends up building stars and how this relates to the total cluster mass, mainly the dark matter that we do not directly see from DES. She also works on understanding how galaxies evolve in time within clusters and outside them.
Another of her current science interests is gravitational waves, ‘ripples’ of spacetime that are produced, in the most violent cases, by catastrophic events such as black holes or neutron stars merging. Antonella is working with a group of DES scientists to observe these events with DES. Antonella co-leads the cluster galaxy evolution analysis team and is one of the DES Early Career Scientists representatives.
We asked Antonella a few more questions — here’s what she had to say:
When did you know you wanted to be a scientist?
I have always wanted to become an astrophysicist since I was at primary school. My dad bought me a telescope, and I used to observe the planets and study them on books. My science teachers at high school have also strongly supported my passion and inclination for science.
What motivates / inspires you?
Curiosity is what motivates me the most. The willing of learning and knowing more and more, especially in a field where the most is unknown, like our universe. It is also very motivating to work in a large and diverse group of scientists like DES: scientists from all over the world, with different backgrounds, are able to look at the same problems from different perspectives, while all together trying to solve the mysteries of the universe.
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
Society might teach us that there are other fields than science that are more important and that will make you more successful in life. Do not believe that, and if science is your passion, then never give up on your dream! Science is at the base of our everyday life even when we do not realize it, and astronomy in particular has always been one of the most inspiring science fields since the most ancient days of humanity.